This value is embedded right in the company’s mission statement which says, in part, “We engage the imagination and spirit of our audience, until a transformation occurs and the true grace of our mutual humanity is revealed.” While we’re in the business of entertainment, we again want to go one step further. We want children to see that the characters on stage can work through their problems and come to a transformed understanding of themselves and their circumstances. This can give hope to children, a sense of possibility, and importantly, the belief that their lives, too, can change for the better.
When Pinocchio, in our 2005 production, yearns to be a real boy, he hits some very rough patches in his life and makes a series of bad choices. Ultimately, his love for his father redeems him, helping him understand what it means to be real and the responsibility that comes with that state. In The Velveteen Rabbit, there is a stuffed rabbit that longs to be real, but a wise older toy advises him that only love can make you real. As the rabbit discovers, sacrifice and devotion to the very ill young boy who owns him is finally what makes him not only real to the boy, but a woodland rabbit able to dance and soar in the forest as an independent being, real to all.
Love and family relationships are at the core of many of our productions and the vehicle for transformation to a better life. In Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, young Sylvester the donkey makes a choice that temporarily separates him from those in his life. Because of this, he learns to truly appreciate his family and friends. This is an important life lesson for our young audiences, one we teach through the stories we select, the way we stage them for young people, and the message that evolves through the development of characters on the stage. This emanates from our fundamental respect for the children we put at the heart of our company’s work. A school child attending one of our performances of Cinderella said, “I want my family to see the show. It would probably change their lives forever.”