Whether the Weather, A New Play For Very Young Children by Bethany Lynn Corey will be presented by Pollyanna Theatre Company, November 9 – 19 at 9:30 and 11:00 am in the AT&T Education Room at the Long Center.
Pollyanna Theatre Company is excited to bring a new Theatre for the Very Young presentation to some of Austin’s youngest patrons. This interactive play is written and designed specifically to meet the developmental needs of children 2 to 4 years of age. This style of theatre, which is relatively new in the U.S., invites preschoolers into a theatrical space that is colorful enough to intrigue their active imaginations, yet small enough to offer a welcoming sense of security.
The Long Center’s AT&T Education Room is the perfect setting for this style of theatre. Preschoolers are welcomed into the playing space, situated in the middle of this comfortable, carpeted room, and are invited to take a seat on the floor just inches from the scenery and actors. Periodically throughout the presentation, the youngsters are invited into the world of the play to sing, dance, and participate in the story itself. The play is structured in brief scenes which are broken up by “release moments,” which allow for audience participation—releasing the impulse to wiggle and move just at the moment when a toddler needs to do so. Then the story continues, inviting the children to refocus as audiences members, observing the action.
This makes Theatre for the Very Young a true merge of dramatic play that children naturally engage in on their own and a formal audience experience. The goal is to meet very young children exactly where they are in the development of their imaginations, thought processes, and exploration of the world around them. And the Long Center’s Resident Theatre Company, Pollyanna Theatre Company, is the only professional theatre company in Central Texas doing this unique style of work.
Whether the Weather, by Bethany Lynn Corey, is a classic example of Theatre for the Very Young. The children are greeted in the lobby by one of the characters, Sunny, who introduces herself and tells the audience a little bit about what they are about to experience. The audience—of no more than 45 children per performance—then enters the playing space together. Sunny introduces the audience to Gus, her best friend who is fascinated by what he sees outside the window of their play room.
Through dramatic play, Sunny and Gus explore all of the various types of weather they see outside of their window, inviting the audience to join in their playtime. We learn that one of Gus’ favorite books is a book of poems about the weather, and that Sunny reads this story to Gus every single night. Ultimately, Whether the Weather is a colorful exploration of weather vocabulary and what it means to be a good friend. Through songs, gestures, and lots of “playing pretend,” Whether the Weather is sure to charm audience members as young as 18 months and as old as 100 years.
Pollyanna will be presenting the play for families and for preschool groups November 9 – 19. It is a core belief of the artists and leaders of Pollyanna that there is no equal education with equal access to the rich cultural life of our city. Therefore, it is the goal of the company to provide access to educational and cultural experiences for all Austin families. Therefore, no child is turned away from a Pollyanna production because of their inability to pay.