Since the beginning of November, hundreds of young children and teachers have experienced the joy of seeing a performance from the Shadow Box Theatre inside PS 3, the Bedford Village School, in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Forty-three years ago, Sandra Robbins — with a cadre of talented mothers — created the Shadow Box Theatre to fill a void in New York’s multi-ethnic environment. Their aim was to present innovative musical puppet theatre relevant to a diverse population of young children and families. At the time, very little children’s theatre of that nature existed.
The organization enjoyed its housing at the Theatres at 45 Bleeker St. in Manhattan until October, when, due to a financial dispute between the owners of the building and the management company, it was shuttered.
Robbins and her staff worked tirelessly to find the theatre a new home, and, with many phone calls to many friends in the community, the city’s public schools came to their aid. PS 2 in Chinatown hosted the theatre for the run of its Halloween show, “Lumpy Bumpy Pumpkin.” Then, a week before the troupe would be homeless again at the start of November, PS 3 opened its doors for the Thanksgiving-themed production, “Tobias Turkey.”
At the time, the school’s auditorium was getting an upgraded sound system and lights. The school’s principal, Kristina Beecher, and the arts coordinator saw this as an opportunity for the school and troupe.
Now, the children of PS 3 not only watch the shows, but also experience them as they are being created. In addition, they read the troupe’s books, and Robbins shares her inspiration in the process of writing them with the students.
In December, the troupe will present its annual holiday show, “Big Annie.” Coming in January is the annual show, “The African Drum,” running through March to celebrate Black History Month.
The partnership is considered by many to be a win-win situation for all — the children, teachers, school, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, The Shadow Box Theatre, and the city of New York.
The Shadow Box Theatre’s “Big Annie” at PS 3, The Bedford Village School [50 Jefferson Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant, (718) 622-2960], Dec. 9-23. “The African Drum” Jan. 25 - Mar. 4.
The Shadow Box Theatre’s offices [138 South Oxford St., #2A, in Downtown (718) 398-7772] and [325 West End Ave., in Manhattan (212) 724-0677]. For more information, visit shadowboxt
©2010 Community News Group