Smile Politely

Krannert Center announces 2015-16 Youth Series

From a KCPA press release:

For decades, Krannert Center has welcomed thousands of the region’s young people each season for a series of inventive and inspiring daytime programs, carefully curated to awaken minds while also addressing Common Core and Illinois learning standards. This season, the Krannert Center Youth Series will feature a vibrant global mix of artists hailing from Australia, China, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Educators have the opportunity to bring students to performances at the Center and to select from new workshop options designed to take teaching artists into the classroom. The $5 ticket prices and ticket subsidies are available through support from Krannert Center’s Campaign for Young Audiences, Youth Series endowed funding, and individual donors. Educators including public, private, and home schools teachers may apply for financial assistance when placing their ticket order. Visit, call 217.244.3009, or email to learn more.

Krannert Center Youth Series 2015-16 Season Preview
We May 6 from 4pm to 6pm

Area teachers, school administrators, PTA members, and youth advocates are invited to enjoy complimentary refreshments, get a preview of the 2015-16 Youth Series season, and place orders for the upcoming school year. Be sure to stop by the information tables to learn more about public engagement and outreach programming from our partners at Krannert Art Museum, the University of Illinois School of Music, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerts, Lyric Theatre @ Illinois, Dance at Illinois, Illinois Theatre, and Spurlock Museum; enter to win tickets to Krannert Center; and take advantage of a 10% discount at Promenade—the exceptionally eclectic, artfully affordable store at Krannert Center.


Evalyn Parry’s SPIN

We Sep 16 and Th Sep 17 at 10am

Tryon Festival Theatre, $5

Innovative, award-winning Toronto artist Evalyn Parry takes her audience on an uncommon theatrical and musical journey in SPIN. Inspired in part by the incredible true tale of Annie Londonderry—who in 1894 became the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle—Parry spins a web of stories which travel from 19th-century women’s emancipation to 21st-century consumer culture, peeling back layers of history to ultimately reveal a profoundly contemporary and personal heart to her theme of liberation.

National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China: Peking Dreams

We Oct 21 at 10am

Foellinger Great Hall, $5

Innovative stagecraft partners with high-flying athleticism and a wink of sly humor to produce an edge-of-seat experience from this remarkable troupe. With a program encompassing maneuvers of delicate grace, spine- tingling contortions, deft balance, and intricate juggling, it’s little wonder the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China are among the world’s most acclaimed athletes. Their jaw-dropping feats of strength and agility are accentuated by a combination of traditional and modern music and imaginative props to deliver a joyful performance beyond the imagination!

Patch Theatre Company: Me and My Shadow

We Nov 18 at 10am; Th Nov 19 at 10am and 12:30pm

Tryon Festival Theatre, $5

Discover a tale of wonder, imagination, friendship, and a little magic. In a playground of paper, light, music, and color, a whimsical story about childhood friendship comes to life when one young girl meets a particularly sly and silly fellow—her shadow! Australia’s award-winning Patch Theatre Company makes its Krannert Center debut with Me and My Shadow. Specifically crafted with younger kids in mind, its deceptively clever staging will delight audiences of all ages. With fantastical imagery, quirky physical performances, and an engaging musical score, Me and My Shadow creates sensory experiences that appeal to both the young and the young at heart.

The Mayhem Poets

Tu Feb 9 at 10am for grades 3-5; We Feb 10 and Th Feb 11 at 10am for grades 6-8

Colwell Playhouse, $5

“Let’s go see a poetry show.” That is a sentence rarely proclaimed and usually responded to with cringes and excuses. The Mayhem Poets are on a mission to change that. Having been dubbed “an amazing ride” by The New York Times, this mind-boggling trio has toured internationally since 2006, spreading its mission to reshape society’s view of poetry. These theatre trained, comedically gifted, lyrical virtuosos seamlessly blend raw elements of hip hop, theatre, improv, and stand up comedy to tell soulful truths that leave audiences forever changed.

JazzReach: Hangin’ with the Giants

Tu Apr 19 at 10am and 12:30pm

Colwell Playhouse, $5

Hangin’ with the Giants is a fun, high-energy program designed to promote the inclusiveness and accessibility of jazz while highlighting the legacies and music of some of the art form’s central contributors. Staged as a late night talk show with live music from the Metta Quintet, Hangin’ with the Giants features animated likenesses of jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk as show guests while offering numerous opportunities for students to interact and participate with the live performance.


We Apr 20 at 10am and 12:30pm

Colwell Playhouse, $5

ELLINGTON is a highly engaging, interactive live multi-media educational program that aims to illuminate the rich, vital legacy of the great American composer, pianist, and bandleader, Duke Ellington. One of the most prolific, celebrated musicians in music history, Duke Ellington’s canon comprises a timeless, highly personal aural account of both the human condition and African-American experience of the 20th century. Through the creative integration of live music from the Metta Quintet, captivating video projections, live narration, and numerous audience-participation segments, ELLINGTON introduces new generations to a wide variety of Duke’s broad array of musical achievements including hit songs, blues riffs, and extended suites and scores for stage and screen.

Cahoots NI: Egg

Th Apr 28 at 10am and 12:30pm; Fr Apr 29 at 10am

Colwell Playhouse, $5

A tale of three birds . . . and an egg! This magical story of friendship and empathy unfolds on a rustic set, exquisitely constructed out of twigs, feathers, and shell. Join three madcap birds on an adventure of a lifetime as they grapple with growing up and giving in to their natural instincts to take flight. Told through physical theatre, illusion, and music, this funny, delightful, and sometimes bittersweet tale resonates as strongly with adults in the audience as it does with children.


The Mayhem Poets slam poetry workshop experience

For groups of up to 30 students. Grades 6-8 or 9-12, $150 per workshop

Dates available: Feb 9-11, 2016, afternoons during the school day or after school. Date and time to be mutually determined.

Verbal Mayhem: participants will exercise skills in enunciation, improvisation, wordplay, connecting with an audience, and utilizing creativity and imagination.

Movement workshop with the Mark Morris Dance Group

For groups of up to 25 students. Grades 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12, $150 per workshop

Dates available: Feb 29-Mar 3, during the school day or after school. Date and time to be mutually determined. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the Mark Morris Dance Group is “the preeminent modern dance organization of our time” (Yo-Yo Ma). Introduce your students to modern dance through this customized movement workshop led by MMDG dancers, with live musical accompaniment. No prior dance experience is necessary. Workshop participants and their families will be eligible for a special group discount to the evening performances of the Mark Morris Dance Group at Krannert Center on March 4-5, 2016.

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