To Bee or Not To Bee

Songs from "To Bee or Not to Bee"

Farmer James has lost his bees, there's only gruel to eat and now the townspeople (the audience) have arrived to protest, chanting "There's no good food, we're in a bad mood!"

Heart.ToBee.Isaac Harrell photo

"To Bee or Not to Bee" tells James' comic, tragic and ultimately hopeful story - complete with puppetry, clowning, dance, live music and lots of audience participation. Piti created the show to raise awareness about the honeybee's plight and gives children and adults tools for helping pollinators thrive in their communities.

What People Say...

★ ★ ★ ★

Winnipeg Free Press Readers Rating

" . . . 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

“. . . gentle entertainment with a worthy message . . . Mirin and Josephs are likable performers, and will leave young audiences . . . with some valuable lessons about helping our winged friends — and with some much-needed hope for the bees.”

- Joff Schmidt, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

"Both times we found Piti's work to be outstanding . . . 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 Matolcsky, Executive Director, Mahoosuc Arts Council

"I really enjoyed the play "To Bee or Not to Bee."  It was an interesting blend of environmental education in a format that worked well for a very wide age range.  A day care provider with young children told me: 'It was a great topic, and the music, dance and puppets captivated my young children.  Some of them have a very hard time sitting still, but they were focused the entire time.'  I especially enjoyed the music.  The keyboard player was great and really added to the show.  One of her songs is still stuck in my head three days later."

- Linda Hicks, Director, Montague Public Library

"Massachusetts duo Laura Josephs and Jonathan Mirin bring a cautionary environmental tale in the form of a 45-minute production that features singing, dancing, audience participation and some clever props . . . Mirin (as Farmer James) and Josephs (as everyone else) engage the audience throughout, handing out protest signs, running between the aisles, enlisting kids to help re-plant the farm on stage and getting the crowd to shout, buzz and sing along.”

—Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson, Winnipeg Free Press

beekeeping scene in heath


Iguana Fund Award

From Club Passim, Cambridge, MA for Jonathan Mirin and Carrie Ferguson's Musical Collaboration on To Bee or Not to Bee and other performances. Listen to our first album

Suzy Polucci Food and Justice Award

Franklin Community Co-op

Jonathan and Ezekiel Mirin prepare for Bee Week.forweb

Want to make a bigger impact?

In 2014, Piti Theatre launched a new initiative called "Bee Weeks", which uses the arts-based activities to move towns toward sustainability and create new partnerships between environmental stewards.

etretitre pour indisign2

Want to see the show in French?

The show is available in french following the Swiss premiere in November, 2012.

Story of my bees photo

Smaller Space and/or Smaller Children?

We have a storytelling version of the show called "To Bee or Not to Bee Jr." designed for smaller spaces and ages 3 - 5.

Booking Info

  • Production Requirements: Minimum 20' wide by 15' deep indoor or outdoor playing space. Raised stage not required.
  • Length: Available in 30, 45 and 55 minute versions plus optional pre-performance actor preparation workshop.

Please use the form below to inquire.

For Schools

Schools can decide if they would like us to work with their classes of 3rd - 5th graders beforehand in preparation to be part of the performance.

For example, there could be a half-hour rehearsal just before the show or as many as 5 rehearsals leading up to the performance in a residency format where children learn singing, dancing and acting skills in the context of enriching their life science curriculum. The show can also be performed "as is."

We provide seed packets for teachers who want to plant flowers that bees like with their classes.

Pre- and post-show activities include:

  • constructing hives for native bees
  • a visit from or to a local beekeeper
  • exploring honeybee social structure through theatre
  • planting a bee garden

Some previous school venues include: Sanderson Academy, Bridge Street School, Colrain Central School, Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School, R.K. Finn Ryan Road School, Crescent Park Elementary School, Ames Elementary School, Captain Albert Stevens Elementary, Decas Elementary and many more!

What educators say . . .

"I was impressed at how engaged our students were . . . your smiles and pep pulled everyone right in . . . for students that are not often exposed to arts and cultural opportunities, this was a great experience."

- Jan Kalicka, Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School, Holyoke, MA

" . . . a great little show packed with lots of information. It had several catchy tunes that students sang for the rest of the day."

- Marie Hershkovitz, 4th/5th grade teacher, Bridge Street School, Northampton, MA

"The themes you have addressed are in line with our [learning standards] and crucial for encouraging student reflection about the sustainability of our planet. The performance is fun and poetic, the children had a great time.”

- Gabriella Leonti, Director of Elementary Education, Le Locle, Switzerland

To Bee or Not to Bee

10% For the Bees Campaign

One of the major challenges facing honeybees, native bees, and other pollinators (not to mention many other species around the globe) is loss of habitat. In the words of South Deerfield, MA beekeeper Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary, honeybees in many parts of the U.S. simply “don’t have enough to eat.”

Our 10% For the Bees Campaign encourages audiences and communities  to let nature plant 10% of their lawn – or plant a bee garden.

Organic seeds for bee gardens (donated by High Mowing Seeds and Horizon Herbs) will be distributed after every performance of "To Bee or Not to Bee" or "The Story of My Bees".

Are you a business with a lawn? We are happy to recognize your bee-friendly efforts so let us know! Contact us with your photos and info.

Homeowner with a lawn? Are you friends with your neighbor? Get together and talk about creating a "pollinator corridor" down your abutting property lines. Corridors of bee-friendly plants are one of the most effective ways of giving pollinators a fighting chance in more densely populated areas. They also work great on farms!