Stages, Sights & Sounds is Chicago’s only international children’s theater festival. This year we celebrate our 15th year of presenting fresh, original performances from around the world with 48 programs from May 6–24 at three Chicago venues.
Stages, Sights & Sounds brims with possibilities, offering lively theatrical and hands-on experiences for every age. You can see performers from faraway countries and also discover Chicago gems. You can find inspiration in stories classic and new told through puppetry, theater, words, and pictures.
The Festival features a fantastic lineup:
- For the first time, we welcome two theater companies from Australia! The Last Great Hunt presents The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, which tells a tale of love, loss, and heroism in the throes of extreme climate change. Cre8ion brings Fluff, and the mod, mad world of the Ginghams, a traveling trio who rescue long-lost, misfit toys. With a comedic, quirky and colorful mix of sound, story, video, and vacuum, toys are discovered, recovered, and invited to join this plaid-patterned family.
- El Retablo is our first visiting company from Spain. Animales is a captivating, wordless performance where everyday objects shape-shift into animals and magical beings.
- We are thrilled that puppeteer Nori Sawa returns this May. The runaway hit of 2012’s Festival, Sawa is back with his popular Fairy Tales as well as a new show, Kaguya: The Bamboo Princess and Other Stories, his unique version of a legendary Japanese folktale of loyalty, magic, and transcendence. He will be in residence for two weeks performing both pieces as well as working with young artists from South Shore Cultural Center.
- We are delighted to present a roster of puppeteers from Chicago in our first ever Chicago Puppetolio. Check out new work from local icons as well as emerging artists.
- Finally, two acclaimed children’s book authors/artists will be with us: Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and Battle Bunny) and Timothy Basil Ering (illustrator of Kate DiCamillo’s Tale of Despereaux), and we’ll offer two hands-on workshops for the budding artists among us.
Attendance at Stages, Sights & Sounds events gives you the chance to make lasting memories with the children in your life. Festival performances spark inquiry and often serve as the departure points for curiosity and learning—hallmarks of a great experience every parent, grandparent, or other special adult in a child’s life knows well.
Further, those of you who attend Festival programs on the weekends may not be aware of our robust school-day audience. In 2013, over 4,500 students attended matinee performances, most from neighborhoods with little access to the arts and humanities; 75% received free tickets. This commitment is part of our First Time for a Lifetime™ initiative, which encompasses our education and outreach programs and is designed to provide experiences in the arts and humanities that inspire lifelong participation.
Finally, Stages, Sights & Sounds creates opportunities to deepen relationships. Our Festival Ambassadors—superfans whose enthusiasm for our Festival brings them back each year—have played crucial roles in bringing this year’s edition to our stages. Please join us in thanking them: Audre Budrys Nakas, Eileen Campe, Inna Elterman, Joanie Friedman, Judy Klem, and Dagmara Kokonas.
See you at the Festival!