If you follow us on social media, you may have noticed we have an exciting new initiative on the books: The National Theatre Live! at The Library, presented in partnership with the DC Public Library. This initiative extends our longest-running community program, Saturday Morning Live!, by supporting additional programs and performances for young audience at DC Public Library locations around the District. Funding, promotions, and location logistics are coordinated by the DC Public Library, and artistic programming and performance logistics are coordinated by The National Theatre Foundation (NTF) in collaboration with our artists and marketing provider.
For over forty years, Saturday Morning Live! has been entertaining and inspiring young audiences at our home on Pennsylvania Avenue. The aim of The National Theatre Live! at The Library is to extend our reach by offering free performances and workshops in as many areas of Washington, DC as possible. The DC Public Library’s diverse locations and history of providing free, community-based programs, particularly in support of early childhood literacy and education, made them a natural fit for this initiative.
The program debuted with a presentation of Pee Wee Pirates by Mary Ann Jung, a longtime member of NTF’s Community Stage Connections program. Jung is a performer and scholar with decades of experience who specializes in telling the stories of great women of history to audiences of all ages. Jung appeared as real-life pirate Captain Grace O’Malley at Shepherd Park Library for an audience of approximately 60 children, parents, and caregivers. Shepherd Park leadership arranged a series of pirate-themed books to accompany the performance. Deborah Hirsch, Branch Manager at Shepherd Park, expressed delight at the turnout out of the event and noted happily that the array of pirate themed books had been “ransacked” following the performance.
More recently, our new friends at Visionaries of the Creative Arts (VOCA) performed an interpretation of the children’s book I Don’t Want to Be Me, written by Patricia Lee Davis and Jocelyn Mack, at Northeast Library. VOCA is an organization that develops and supports the work of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists. The performance was given in American Sign Language, with interpretation into spoken English coordinated by our longtime facilitator. An ensemble of five performers brought the story about a young girl struggling to accept herself to life in front of an audience of 70 children, parents, and caregivers.
The following programs have been confirmed for March and April:
One Inch of Wonder, created by Happy Theater. Affiliated workshop, “Small Things and Big Wonders,” at Shaw Library, February 17th at 11am. Full performance at The National Theatre, March 2nd at 9:30am and 11am.
Off the Page, produced by Arts On the Horizon. Workshop at Cleveland Park Library, April 13th at 11am. Full performance at The National Theatre, April 27th at 9:30am and 11am.
Plans are underway to complete scheduling for May and June programs at Benning and Bellevue Libraries, respectively. Remember: if you can’t catch these wonderful artists at a Library near you, check out our Saturday Morning Live! lineup and register at our AllEvents page!