young audiences

In A World Where Trees Talk And Giants Walk, Why Not A Set That Lives And Breathes?

In Ghostlight Ensemble’s latest production, actors throw their whole selves – literally – into telling the story of a giant who brings on a perpetual winter in an effort to keep his land to himself. The Selfish Giant, which opens June 8, is a physical theatre reimagining of the Oscar Wilde short story of the same name.

Weaving movement and words into a highly physical form of storytelling, this intimate production tells the tale of an angry giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land, but discovers the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness.

“The themes of this story, originally published in 1888, resonate with modern audiences, tackling issues that we are still very much grappling with,” said Maria Burnham, the playwright and a co-director of the production. “The story is almost too relevant.”

This production removes the religious overtones of Wilde’s original short story and replaces it with a morality tale that focuses on character redemption and the power of love. It also moves the story off the page by relying solely on the actors who are telling it, illustrating to the audience another theme of the story – how much better we can be when we all work together.

The adaptation uses a chorus to embody human characters and mythical beasts. The actors build the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies.

“Physical theatre is really much more about, not a singular person, but what a group can provide you. What can we build together as opposed to one person standing and saying ‘Hey I’m a giant’ or ‘I’m a tree’,” said Miona Lee, co-director and movement choreographer for the production. “The story itself is very much about inclusiveness and the way we’re building our world as well is really inclusive.”

The Selfish Giant was part of a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, first published in May 1888. In the story, the selfish giant builds a wall around his beautiful garden to keep children out. By doing so, he creates a perpetual winter in the garden, because no other season wanted to be part of his selfish endeavor. Then one morning, a special child brings spring back, and the giant’s heart melts along with the snow.

The Selfish Giant stars Jean E. Burr as Lydia and Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Kali Skatchke, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky as a chorus of characters.

The show was crafted to appeal to all ages and its weekend runs are perfect for families looking for live, daytime entertainment. The Selfish Giant runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago (3914 N. Clark St., 60613) Tickets are on sale now: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, or $25 family of four.

The Selfish Giant is part of Ghostlight’s summer Nightlight series.

Nightlight is Ghostlight’s summer young audience series with original, adapted and forgotten plays geared toward children and the adults who love them. Ghostlight believes theatre can be a beacon for children, letting them know they aren’t alone in the world, giving them a sense of security and revealing the truth that in stories they can be anything they want to be. You’re never too young – or too old – for a nightlight.

Tickets on sale for The Selfish Giant

Actors have begun rehearsals for  The Selfish Giant , which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Actors have begun rehearsals for The Selfish Giant, which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Tickets are on sale now for The Selfish Giant, a physical theatre production that will mesmerize audiences of all ages.

This story of a giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land runs during the month of June at Otherworld Theatre and is geared toward all ages.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and are $5 for children, $10 for adults or $25 for a family of four.

You can also obtain tickets through our Go Fund Me Campaign. The Garden, Ogre, North Wind and Giant levels all come with tickets to the show, along with a host of other goodies. Learn more Becoming a Generous Giant for Children's Theatre here.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

Donate to children, earn a reward!

TSG Art 2.jpg

Did you know we’ve put together some very special gifts for the donors to our The Selfish Giant fundraiser? From growing your own garden to headshots and more.

Read all about the show here and then go donate here.

By donating you help keep our ticket prices affordable for all families in Chicago.

Levels include:

$25 GARDEN LEVEL: Start your own urban garden with a Grow Your Own Garden Kit and receive a ticket to the show, as well as thanks in our program.

$50 OGRE LEVEL: Join cast members and the director of The Selfish Giant after a performance for apple pie and milk and to learn more about physical storytelling. Bring your kids (or you friends’ kids) so they can learn how to turn everyday objects into props to create their own plays at home. Plus: A ticket to the show, as well thanks in the program

$75 NORTH WIND LEVEL: Get a headshot session with our company photographer who will offer you one look (a.k.a. outfit, but a variety of expressions within that one outfit) and guarantee a photo you’re happy with, or you’ll get a makeup session. You get all the photos from the session on a disc to use as you wish without watermarks. This offer is regardless of whether you’re an actor looking for fresh headshots, one of our business friends looking to spruce up your LinkedIn page or an animal lover looking for a professional photo of your pupper (did we mention, this wasn’t limited to humans!) Plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant, as well as thanks in the program

$100 or more GIANT LEVEL: A Nightlight Gift bag, featuring your choice of a Nightlight T-shirt or tote bag, among other items, plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant as well as thanks in the program.

Meet the cast of The Selfish Giant

sg+my+book+hs.jpg

Up next for Ghostlight is The Selfish Giant, part of our Nightlight young audiences series.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant is a story that illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

We're excited to announce the cast for this ensemble production: Jean E. Burr, Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Kali Skatchke, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky.

The show is directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee.

This production will intrigue children and parents alike, not just with its story, but with its method of storytelling. The adaptation uses a chorus of actors to embody human characters and mythical beasts, while building the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies. This physical theater piece relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story.

The show runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Be a Generous Giant for The Selfish Giant, a show for young audiences

Every theatrical production involves a team of artist on the stage and behind the scenes to bring the stories you're seeing to life. Most of these people perform, design and build without ever being paid for their efforts.

At Ghostlight, we strive to provide everyone with an stipend to help offset the costs of traveling to rehearsal and performances or running all over town to gather materials for costume, set and properties construction. That's not always an easy task when trying to provide affordable family-friendly entertainment with rental rates in Chicago at all-time highs.

We hope you'll help up reach our goal by supporting theater for young audiences.

Find out more about The Selfish Giant and our campaign here.  

Auditions Announced for 'The Selfish Giant'

GLET-Logo-RGB_BW.jpg

Ghostlight Ensemble announces auditions for our summer show The Selfish Giant, written by Maria Burnham, directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee and based on Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name.

The Selfish Giant is part of our Nightlight young audiences series and illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never to late for redemption and for love.

Character Descriptions:
Seeking a strong, ethnically diverse cast of all genders, ages, shapes and sizes, who love a good story and who have an imagination to rival any 5-year-old. Additionally, actors with strong movement backgrounds are encouraged to audition. This production will use a chorus of actors to embody not just the human characters in the story, but the mythical ones, as well as inanimate objects. This is NOT a dance piece. It is physical theater that relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story with their bodies and voices.

Material To Prepare:
Please submit your headshot and resume to Jean, and she will be in touch with sides and an audition appointment. Dress for movement and bring your sense of play.

Performance Dates:
Saturdays at 1 p.m. & Sundays at 11 a.m., June 7 to June 30 at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613.

Auditions:
6-11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13

***Please indicate your availability during this window in your email.***

Callbacks:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16

You MUST be available for callbacks. If you are not available for callbacks, do not submit to this audition. However, you do not need to be available for this entire time.

Auditions and call backs will be held at Otherworld Theatre.

Rehearsals will be scheduled around cast availability taking place 3 to 4 times a week during weeknights and weekends. However, as this is an ensemble production utilizing the entire chorus to tell the story, all actors will be called for all rehearsals. If you have extremely limited availability during April and May, we kindly ask that you do not submit.

To submit:
Send your headshot and resume to Jean at casting@ghostlightensemble.com.

Thanks to everyone who attended 'The Princess Without Pots'

20180702_105417.jpg

Thanks to everyone who attended the inaugural production in our Nightlight young audiences series, The Princess Without Pots. We loved seeing all the tiny princesses and princes who joined us in the Land of Contentment.

In our second year of Nightlight we plan to expand the idea of what the series beyond the stage. To do this, we'd love to hear from you. What would you and your children like to get out of Nightlight? Are you interested in the craft of theater — learning how to make the props and costumes you see in the show, learning how to put on your own play, etc.  — or would you like more educational programing to accompany the performances? Would you be interested in more interactive pieces? Or maybe you just want more pillows on the floor? Whatever it is we'd love to hear from you

The next show in the Nightlight series will be an original adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s children’s story The Selfish Giant.

The Selfish Giant is a tale of a giant who owns a beautiful garden, in which the village children love to play. The giant has been away for 12 years and upon returning is outraged to see the children enjoying themselves on his land. He builds a wall to keep them out and puts up a notice that reads: “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” But without the children, the garden falls into perpetual winter and the Selfish Giant finds himself isolated and all alone. Despite this bleak beginning, the story ultimately has a happy ending.

More information on this production will be available soon!

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 5)

PWOP_Elena.jpg

We've been asking our young audience members at The Princess Without Pots to come with some alternate poster art for the show, which will be featured here and on social media.

Today's design is by Elena, 8, of Chicago.

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina. Learn more on the show page.

If your budding artist has a design for us, remember you can always scan it in and email it to us at maria(at)ghostlightensemble.com.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 4)

We've been asking our young audience members at The Princess Without Pots to come with some alternate poster art for the show, which will be featured here and on social media.

Today's design is by Sterling Schingoethe, 8, of Hazel Crest.

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina. Learn more on the show page.

If your budding artist has a design for us, remember you can always scan it in and email it to us at maria(at)ghostlightensemble.com.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 3)

PWOP_Beatriz.jpg

After a few days off, we're back with more alternate poster designs by our young audience members at "The Princess Without Pots." 

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina. Learn more on the show page.

If your budding artist has a design for us, remember you can always scan it in and email it to us at maria(at)ghostlightensemble.com.

Today's design is by Beatriz, age 7 (well, 7 and a quarter as she pointed out several times), of Chicago.

The King calls on his tiniest subjects to show up in style

Norm 2.jpg

Norman J. Burt has an announcement for all the tiniest members of the Land of Contentment, where he reigns as King on the weekends:

"IF YOU DRESS IN YOU BEST ROYAL OUTFIT, OUR ROYAL COURT WILL TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOU AS THE RULER OF THE LAND OF CONTENTMENT. SO BRING YOUR CROWNS, YOUR SHIELDS, YOUR HELMETS AND ARMOR, YOU ARE WELCOME!"

Burt will put on his duct tape crown only two more times, this Saturday and Sunday, as the show he is acting in – Ghostlight Ensemble's The Princess Without Pots – comes to a close. But he wants to make sure they go out with a bang…or maybe a flourish of trumpets would be more appropriate.

Read more about Norm and his work on The Princess Without Pots in the Lakeview Patch.

For Hendrickson engaging young minds, refuting tradition is all in a day's work

DSC_3262.jpg

What actor Sean Hendrickson relishes most about his current production, Ghostlight Ensemble's The Princess Without Pots, is the opportunity to share stories and ideas with children.

"Many of us didn't have opportunities like this growing up," he said, "So seeing them get excited and engaged with the show is wonderful."

Read more about Sean and his work on The Princess Without Pots in the North Center Patch.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 2)

PWOP_Sydney Morkunas.jpg

We've been asking our young audience members at The Princess Without Pots to come with some alternate poster art for the show, which will be featured here and on social media.

Today's design is by Sydney Morkunas , age 5, of Chicago.

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina. Learn more on the show page.

If your budding artist has a design for us, remember you can always scan it in and email it to us at maria(at)ghostlightensemble.com.

Ramos kicks imagination into overdrive for latest role

DSC_3067.JPG

For Lakeview actress Isa Ramos, the best part about being in a show geared toward young audiences is having the freedom to think like a kid.

"I love that when performing for children, I have to kick my imagination into overdrive," Ramos said. "Childhood is the best stage of life because imagination rules our reality, and fills us with endless possibility and potential. Being an adult performing for children is the second best stage of life, because the kids challenge me to let my imagination roam big and free, the way it was intended to be."

Read more about Isa and her work on The Princess Without Pots in the Lakeview Patch.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 1)

PWOP_Amelia Hood.jpg

We've been asking our young audience members at The Princess Without Pots to come with some alternate poster art for the show. Over the next few days we'll be featuring some of them here and on social media.

Today's design is by first grader Amelia Hood, age 7, of Chicago.

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina. Learn more on the show page.

If your budding artist has a design for us, remember you can always scan it in and email it to us at maria@ghostlightensemble.com.

Check us out in Chicago Parents magazine

The latest edition of Chicago Parents magazine features an article on our young audiences series, Nightlight, and this series' inaugural production, The Princes Without Pots, which opens Saturday.

Pick up the magazine today and then get your tickets for this world-premiere production!

Ghostlight celebrates Girl Power and the power of Spanish pastries in its latest production

PWOP banner.jpg

Ghostlight Ensemble will launch its young audience series, Nightlight, in June with the world-premiere production of The Princess Without Pots, a new tale of a warrior princess and her parents’ frustrating quest to compel her into a storybook romance.

“This is a play that celebrates just that, the wonderful capacity that children have for make-believe and play that we lose as we get older,” said Maria Burnham, the playwright and director. “With The Princess Without Pots, and with Nightlight in general, we hope to encourage future generations to keep a little bit of that with them as they grow.”

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina.

“We hope we’ve built a world that encourages children of all genders to choose the path best suited to them without any of the limitations society wants to place on them,” Burnham said. “We wanted to create a world in which fighting like a girl is something everyone aspires to do.

“But we also wanted to create a production that is just a lot of fun to watch – one that inspires kids to go home and play Princess Without Pots.”

The Princess Without Pots stars: Brian Barber (Prince Brax), Norman J. Burt (The King), Jessica Casillas (Carl the Hapless Knight, Prince Harry of Strathbane, Camila the Squire, Montage Princes) Pearl Paramadilok (Princess “Sweet Pea” Cristina), Isa Ramos (Prince Miguel), Sydney Ray (The Queen), Josh Razavi (King Brawn, Prince Vlek of Ice Moutain, Phil the Long-Suffering Squire, Montage Princes), Kayla White (Advisors 1-3) and Emilio Williams as the voice of the narrator. Understudies include Sean Hendrickson (Prince Brax), Jessica Casillas (Princess “Sweet Pea” Cristina) and Jean E. Burr (Ensemble roles).

The production team is: Maria Burnham (Playwright, Director), Jean E. Burr (Assistant Director), Carrie Campana (Costume Designer), Jessie Cole (Stage Manager), Dave Gonzales (Fight Designer), Carolyn Minor (Production Manager, Set Painter) and Chad Wise (Props Designer). The poster design for The Princess Without Pots is by Addison Wise, age 8, of Aurora, IL.

 Tickets are now available for The Princess Without Pots, which runs on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. from June 9 to July 1 at Laugh Out Loud Theater in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago (3851 N. Lincoln Ave.) Tickets are: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under or $25 family of four.

The cast will also be performing an abridged version of the show at the North Center Ribfest at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 9 in the Kids Square. A complete scheduled of Kids Square activities and entertainment can be found on the Ribfest website at ribfest-chicago.com.

Introducing the cast of The Princess Without Pots

Pearl Paramadilok as Princess Sweet Pea (left) and Brian Barber as Brax (right) in rehearsals for  The Princess Without Pots .

Pearl Paramadilok as Princess Sweet Pea (left) and Brian Barber as Brax (right) in rehearsals for The Princess Without Pots.

In June, we're bringing young audiences a new tale of a fighting princess and her parents' frustrating quest for a storybook romance in The Princess Without Pots.

Saturdays and Sundays in June this world-premiere production will take place at Laugh Out Loud Theater in the North Center of Chicago (3851 N. Lincoln Ave.)

The play is written and directed by Ensemble Member Maria Burnham and stars Pearl Paramadilok as Princess Sweet Pea and Brian Barber and Isa Ramos as her would-be suitors Brax and Miguel with Norman J. Burt, Jessica Casillas, Sydney Ray, Josh Razavi, Kayla White and understudy Sean Hendrickson.

The production team includes: Jean E. Burr (Assistant Director), Carrie Campana (Costume Designer), Dave Gonzales (Fight Designer), Carolyn Minor (Production Manager) and Chad Wise (Props Designer).

Tickets are $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under or $25 family of four and are on sale now.