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Our Latest All Ages Show!

laura josephs and jonathan mirin in story wizards.douglas mason photo with mushroom
A Wizard Even Crankier than the Story Wizard has stolen the world's tales. Now the Story Wizard must set off to find them. Luckily he discovers a musical being named Laurella living in a giant mushroom who introduces him to . . . the audience! New stories are born from children's suggestions and onstage participation. Kids even get their own Calling Cards to prove they've become the Story Wizards. "Guileless storytelling and sweet slapstick to charm an audience of any age." – Boston Arts Review

" . . . a masterful piece of improv. Students were highly engaged, entertained, and learned a few things in the process. The performers gave children permission to engage with them in a very playful way that left everyone laughing and learning. ALL ideas that the students put forth were included in some way, and the result was extremely delightful!" - Amy Looman, Principal, Colrain Central School

"Story Wizards" is rooted in Piti Theatre's work with children and improvisation. We have developed a popular school and camp residency called "Inclusion Improv" that adds lots more improv and social-emotional skills to the touring show. More @ ptco.org/residencies

". . . masterful at drawing in children; from the most reticent to those who have had some experience on stage.  . . . an authentic way of making all children feel safe and comfortable sharing their creative selves with the group." - Susan Pelis, 2nd Grade Lead Teacher, Sheffield Elementary School

Reviews of Other Piti Children's Shows

" . . . guileless storytelling and sweet slapstick to charm an audience of any age. They utilize puppetry, clowning, juggling, song, movement and audience participation to teach and entertain their charges about caring for the precious air we breathe and sustaining the species which depend upon us for survival." - Beverley Creasey, Boston Arts Review

"A charming children’s show about an American clown in Paris . . . Taking its name from an Indian word for “joy,” the Swiss-American Piti Theatre Company’s aim is simple: to delight audiences and artists alike . . . Piti lives up to this mission, as its clownish protagonist conquers clumsiness and language barriers to make us smile . . . Sammy thrives on audience interaction . . . it’s refreshing to have a space where youthful silliness and self-expression can run free." – Theatre is Easy

laura josephs and jonathan mirin in story wizards.closeup.douglas mason photo
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NEXT STOP: Amherst Sustainability Festival, Saturday, April 20 @ 11:30 am on the Amherst, MA Town Common in the Demo Area. Learn more about the festival here.

"Our daughter asked if she could go to every Story Wizards show." - Andrew, Massachusetts

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With Laurella's songs and children's ideas, the Story Wizard creates new stories in front of our eyes. Beginnings, Middles, Ends, Characters, Conflicts – they're all there and before you know it, the Story Wizard is out of a job. In this tale of audience participation to the Nth degree, children embrace their own storytelling abilities and become Story Wizards.

story wizarnd and laurella with magic.web

"This company has developed a proven and innovative way to capture the talents of students of young ages for on-stage participation in musical theater pieces written to address cutting edge issues presented with original scores and beautiful mobile sets and costumes."

- Aranka Matolcsy, Executive Director, Mahoosuc Arts Council
{Read their full recommendation letter}

Inclusion Improv

 

We believe participation in the performing arts enlarges young people's repertoire as learners, team members and leaders.

Funding for the development of Story Wizards and Inclusion Improv has come from local cultural council grants, the Mass Cultural Council STARS program, the Community Foundation of Western MA, and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

"Our students expressed that they learned how to listen and engage deeply with each other, observe body language and appreciate humor and clever storytelling. Our experience with the Piti Theatre Residency was fabulous!" - Jackie Mendonsa
Principal, Shutesbury Elementary School  
 
"It was a pleasure to work with Jonathan and the Piti Theatre for our second year.  Jonathan is masterful at drawing in children; from the most reticent to those who have had some experience on stage.  He has an authentic way of making all children feel safe and comfortable sharing their creative selves with the group. Our children can easily transfer the social skills they've learned from participating in "Inclusion Improv" to the school playground, their local parks and neighborhoods. I look forward to organizing another worthwhile project next year!" - Susan Pelis, 2nd Grade Lead Teacher, Sheffield Elementary

"One participant, a fourth grader . . .when asked to tell us what the most important thing she learned [said] 'how to be friends and not always get what I want. I loved it!' Her learning experience with cooperation and teamwork was exactly what we hoped our students would gain through the program." - Wendy Somes, New Hingham Elementary School

"Another moment that stands out involved a spectator from our culminating event. A second grader, who was too young to be in the program, told his teacher excitedly "I want to do Improv next year!" This student is one who struggles socially and is not quick to have positive peer relationships. The social skills and confidence embedded in the program would be ideal for this student in future years." - Wendy Somes, New Hingham Elementary School

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Developed during the Pandemic in part to address social-emotional needs, Inclusion Improv is now an acclaimed in-person residency. Students progress from simple to more complicated improvisational theatre games that are so much fun, they often don't notice how much they have learned about themselves, their abilities and their new capacities to "say yes" and "include" their classmates and communities.

Inclusion Improv can be adapted for all grades. Students learn improvisation, public speaking, creativity and teamwork skills.

Read another article about Piti's improv program.

Another journalist describes a public performance.

More residencies . . .

Participants in our improv club on stage

Your Town, The Musical

During our successful residency/performance "Mill, Mountain, River: A Child's Eye View of Olde Coleraine" in 2012 with Colrain Central School in Colrain, MA, we developed a dramatic framework and songs that can be adapted to the history of any mill town. Since then, we have continued to develop local history inspired performances for towns around New England that are performed in school and for the public.

“We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication by our students, staff, and the Piti Theatre Company. Opportunities like this help our students learn about the community in a fun and creative way. The creative arts, and plays like this, help to build confidence in our students. I want to extend my sincerest appreciation to everyone who helped support this program -- with their time, commitment, and donations.”

- Lindsay Rodriguez, Hawlemont Regional School principal.

Go to the Your Town page

Read a feature about a school-based "Your Town" residency

The Weather Friends

A group of weather superheroes (ie, your 3rd or 4th graders) respond to weather situations around the globe. This musical performance is appropriate for the whole school to come and watch and fits well with the current science standards.

Participants in our Bald Eagle program

The Bald Eagle Story

Created in 2016 in response to a teacher's request for a new musical theatre performance about endangered species, the Bald Eagle Story synthesizes 50 years of American natural history through the lens of the bald eagle's decline and dramatic recovery. This residency fits very well with the new Massachusetts science standards by tracking the real evolution of biologists and conservationists work to determine the cause of and remedy for the population decline between the 1940's and 1970's.

"The show was great! I love the songs and the way all the kids were involved in the whole play in multiple roles/parts.  The food chain song and the way the kids acted out the parts was great.  Thank you so much for all your work."

- Mary Sumner, Heath Elementary School PTP on "The Bald Eagle Story"

Children at Sanderson Academy check out a demonstration bee hive

To Bee or Not to Bee

" . . . an amazing job magically drawing in even the most reluctant learners teaching the process of theatrical production and helping us learn more about bees and the role they play in a healthy environment . . . It was genius how Jonathan and Laura organized the play into three acts to accommodate the entire second grade."  - Susan Pelis, Sheffield Elementary

Read the whole testimonial

During this residency, students are incorporated into our internationally acclaimed touring production "To Bee or Not to Bee" as bees, farmhands, and townspeople. They sing, dance and act alongside Piti's professional actors while getting a deeper understanding of bees, pollination and the challenges bees are facing in the age of industrial agriculture. This residency can be expanded into a "Bee Week" involving the whole community, opening up the possibility for bee-keeper visits, planting bee gardens, etc. Learn more about "To Bee or Not to Bee" by clicking here.

Dexter and the Dinosaurs

Dexter and the Dinosaurs

Developed in collaboration with Deerfield’s Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, the performance is inspired by the life of Greenfield’s Dexter Marsh who discovered dinosaur tracks before the word dinosaur had been invented in 1835 while laying the sidewalk outside Greenfield’s Town Hall. Mr. Marsh subsequently led a distinguished dual life as a man of all trades and collector of fossils up and down the Connecticut River, eventually establishing one of the world’s first “dinosaur museums” in Greenfield. Students take turns playing Dexter and the people and beings from his world: Edward and Orra White Hitchcock, Dr. James Deane, students from a local school, animals along the Connecticut River, townspeople, and of course . . . dinosaurs.

Rehearsal track from Dexter and the Dinosaurs, "Giant Birds of Greenfield" by Mirin/Ferguson

This is Your Rock

"This is Your Rock" was designed specifically for residencies in elementary schools in response to a 2013 request from 3rd grade teachers for a show about rocks, minerals and geology. Students learn singing and dancing skills while deepening their understanding of the life science curriculum. The show is inspired by the 1950's television show "This is Your Life" and features a television host interviewing Jeff the Rock about his mysterious past punctuated by musical numbers.

Jonanddinousaursforweb. Peter MacDonald photo

Other school residencies include:

  • Acting/Improvisation
  • Choreography
  • Clowning/Comic Performance
  • Dance (Modern, Ballet)
  • Soapstone carving
  • Storytelling/Solo Performance
  • Playwriting & Screenwriting
  • Writing Funny
  • Writing the 10-Minute Play

What about performances without a residency?

We currently offer "To Bee or Not to Bee" and "Sammy and Le Grand Buffet" and Once Upon a . . ." (starting in Spring, 2023 and paired with Inclusion Improv) as stand-alone shows with curriculum tie-ins for teachers.

THANK YOU RESIDENCY FUNDERS!

Art Angels of Western MA

Community Foundation of Western MA

Greenfield Education Foundation

Easthampton Learning Foundation

Local Cultural Councils

Massachusetts Cultural Council, STARS Program

Mass Humanities

New England Foundation for the Arts: New England States Touring Program

PTO's

Xeric Foundation

Where We've Offered Programming

ELEMENTARY

Alice B. Beal Magnet School, Springfield MA

Brightwood Elementary, Springfield MA

Buckland Shelburne Elementary, MA

Colrain Central School, MA

Crescent Park Elementary, ME

Guilford Central School, VT

R.K. Finn Ryan Road Elementary School, Florence MA

Sanderson Academy, Ashfield MA

Jackson Street School, Northampton, MA

Mary Walsh Elementary, Springfield MA

MIDDLE

Brattleboro Area Middle School, VT

Greenfield Middle School, MA

HIGH SCHOOL

Austine School for the Deaf, Brattleboro, VT

Boston Arts Academy, MA

Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Shelburne, MA

UNIVERSITY/GRADUATE/OTHER

Boston University

Blazing Star Herbal School, Ashfield, MA

Harvard Business School, Cambridge MA

Karen's Dance Studio, Greenfield, MA

Northampton Center for the Arts, MA

New York University Stern School of Management, NYC

UMASS Amherst