Tag Archives: TYA

#FringeFemmes Check-Ins: Birds and the Curiosity

by Constance Strickland

Quick peeks at #HFF23’s “Women on the Fringe” by Fringe Femmes who are behind the scenes this year. Click Here for all Check-Ins

Fringe Femmes

WHO: Olivia Xing & Gefei Liu

WHAT: Birds and the Curiosity

WHERE: Hudson Theatres (Hudson Mainstage),6539 Santa Monica Boulevard

WHY: A majestic original new work. Olivia & Gefei, the design team, and their naturally excellent multi-cultural cast of character actors were beyond a delight. A story of a young woman able to visit her younger self is something we all have imagined. Witnessing adult Zhigeng engage with young Zhigeng spoke directly to the spirit. To see her experience life with her friends, grandmother, and her mother from a place of knowing—as this is a time travel play!—gave all of us in the audience a chance to go back in time and tell our younger selves that it will be/we are okay and that they are loved. I brought my nieces with me to see this show, and by the end of it, we all had tears in our eyes. This Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA) play broke age and cultural barriers and touched each one of us because we understood and remembered what it was like to be a kid—not knowing that what you see and believe will shift with time and that you will survive. Wow! What a truly generous gift from the playwrights to young and old audience members.

Oh! And I almost forgot how magical it was when the Ostrich came through the door; the use of puppetry and props in the show made me feel that I was not at a Fringe show but a fully produced play. BRAVO to all. Keep going! We need your voice in the theatre for young children and for those of us who may forget at times what it means to survive childhood.

HOW: https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/9656

For the Community: “We’re excited to announce our AAPI Kids Morning! On the morning of 18th, any Asian American and Pacific Islander children and teens can bring their parent(s)/guardian(s) to see the show for FREE!!”

There is also cool merch available for sale to support the show, payable via Zelle + Venmo @birdsandthecuriosity.

Click Here to Find More “Women on the Fringe!”

Day Two: Playwrights in Mind: A National Conversation – part three

Theatre for Young Audiences – Michael Bobbitt – Adventure Theatre and Kim Peter Kovac – Kennedy Center

TYA includes adults performing for kids, kids performing for kids, and teen theatre. Theatre for Young Audiences is the operative word these days. Denmark has 60 children’s theatres. The best theatre professionals in the country work for it.

Trends: theatre for the very young – 2-5 year olds, baby theatre, which is all about discovery and sound, where seeing yourself in the mirror is a theatrical event. (Just like actors!) Baby theatre is becoming huge.

Over the past ten years, there’s been more money and resources available for TYA. Regional theatres are doing more. Perhaps because Disney went to Broadway. And made money. Also, there’s grant money. Similar to black theatre in the 1990’s, funding organizations are looking at whether a theatre is doing educational and youth theatre. There’s also a trend where performing arts centers are booking shows…but the person who does it is also the “community engagement” person.

New work? People are looking at more popular titles. Michael Bobbit says he has the same administrative needs as a big theatre, but only charges 15 bucks for tickets. So famous titles brings in an audience. There’s a huge amount of work for adaptations.

Length: 45-hour length for under ten. One study showed the ideal length for 4-8 year olds – idela length is 47 minutes. For an older audience, 50-70 is ideal.

Getting the rights: sometimes a playwright has the rights. The Kenendy Center gets rights from the publisher, pays them, and then commissions the playwright. Make sure everyone knows there’s no money. 3-12% of gross box office is given to the picture book writer, 1.5% to the playwright or $1500 (Adventure Theatre). Kennedy pays 3% to the book writer; playwrights get 6-8% of the box office.

Who owns the play? At Adventure, they own it. Kennedy never owns the play.

Look for works in the public domain to adapt. Don’t discount movies, songs, TV shows, poems, lots of possibilities for adaptation. Only about a third of plays produced are new scripts not adaptations.

Cast size: 2-6 is great. Two is the best. Think about how a cast can be doubled – or shrunk.

Other advice: know your audience. Knowing how to tie your shoe is a big thing to a kid. Know what’s on a kid’s curriculum and reading list to see what they’re working on in school. Fairy tales are out of fashion right now. Teen theatre is issue related. But above all, it has to be a good play, not a lesson.

Popular TYA plays:
For very young (2-3 or 5) audiences: “Go Dog Go,” “Good Night Moon,” “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “Knufflebunny,” “Tick Tac Moo,” “Miss Nelson is Missing (Joan Cushing),” “Flat Stanley,” Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day,” “Ferdinand.”

Ages 8-12 – “Holes,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Anne Frank and Me,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” Laura Ingels Wilder, “Skellig” by David Almond.

Cold submissions: Adventure: no capacity; only doing popular titles. Kennedy – only commissions.

Last thoughts: parents and teachers are the gatekeepers, deciding what shows kids come see. Diversity is good business.