Story Toys, our new improv form for kids, to be presented at local schools!
Improvised theater is usually adult entertainment. Whether it's the popular short forms of Comedy Sportz, or the long forms like the ones our ensemble Bright Invention present, the material presented is adult in content. With Story Toys White Pines blazes yet another new trail: improv designed expressly for children between 3 and 12 years old.
In Story Toys the youthful audience has been instructed to bring a toy, stuffed animal or cherished object to share with the actors. Then the actors arrive and make a confession: we know we're supposed to do a play for you but we don't know what it is! The audience is given three choices, for instance: mystery, fantasy, action. Or for a younger audience: learning, sharing, listening. These topics can be designed with the host venue in advance. Then, comically, the actors have the students pick a theme for the show, and use the offered toys to create the characters in it.
Story Toys is completely flexible, and can be performed in any large space where an audience and and actors can be defined. With Story Toys, children are invited into the uniquely and powerfully shared experience of improvised theatre, in which the story being told is being invented on the spot, and is using meaningful offerings from the kids to tell it. As the kids watch us create characters based on their toys, they become joyfully implicated in the creative magic being invented right in front of them.
This Pennsylvania Council for the Arts grant will allow White Pines to bring Bright Invention and Story Toys to four schools in our region during the upcoming academic year. Soon, we will begin reaching out to school administrators to let them know how to take advantage of this opportunity. If you know of a school that would enjoy seeing Story Toys - let us know!
We are grateful to the PCA and the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance for their support of this project. Thank you!