The Birmingham Children's Theatre has long upheld it's mission to educate, enrich and entertain through decades of high-quality performances directed towards audiences broadly defined as "youth." That is the nature of TYA - Theatre for Young Audiences. Our professional directors, actors and designers from all over the nation come together to tell engaging stories that take us from the pages of history to the pages of our favorite books, up through the clouds and into worlds unknown. Thousands of school children each year get to experience the thrill of watching their favorite characters comes to life before their eyes. But do these core values - to educate, enrich and entertain - fall to the side once a person enters into that inevitable realm of adulthood?
We often talk about the magic of theatre but seldom stop to wonder at what that means. Of course we've all seen seemingly magical acts on stage - actors fly and scenery transforms, thunderstorms are recreated and costumes alight. These are magic happenings that occur in a theatre but the true magic of theatre reaches beyond. When a child who is known to be quiet and introverted returns home from a show and wants to act out their favorite story in all the glory a blanket fort can create. When a young person who struggles to make sense of the events of their world finds their voice in artistic expression. When persons of all ages and backgrounds see someone they recognize, they understand and admire represented onstage and find new vigor to aspire for greater things. When an adult, perhaps the hesitant date of a theatre-lover, is so moved by a performance that they find their cheeks damp with the tears they've been holding inside, afraid to release. These emotional, spiritual, intangible responses are the magic. And we feel they should be gifted to all - the children, the child-like of heart and even, or especially, those who have lost the way to Neverland.
In recent years, BCT has been working to provide Family-focused shows in addition to our Youth-focused programming. It's a small but important distinction which can most easily be summed up with one example: Pixar. As we approached this summer we wanted to create a collection of opportunities for audiences of all ages to experience the magic of theatre. And so the Magic City Theatre Festival was born!
In it's inaugural year, the Magic City Theatre festival strives to provide thrilling entertainment as audiences experience the excitement and adventure of some of literature's best-loved heroes played upon stages across the city. And we could think of no better show to capture this than Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers. It's 1625 and D'Artagnan, along with his sister Sabine, sets off for Paris in search of adventure. They soon become entwined with the greatest heroes of the day - Athos, Porthos, and Aramis; the famous Musketeers - and join in a mission to defend the Queen of France. Based on the timeless swashbuckling tale by Alexandre Dumas, a tale of heroism, treachery, friendship, close escapes, and, above all, honor. Directed by BCT Executive Artistic Director Brandon Bruce, choreographed by acclaimed fight director Alexis Black, and performed in the round at Brookwood Village, this show promises to be a unique and exciting experience for all who see it!
Not to forget our roots, BCT will continue with it's tradition of providing a summer show for our youngest and most devoted audiences. Opening July 10th is a fan favorite: Jack and the Beanstalk by Randy Marsh. Young Jack has always been adventurous, but he never dreamed of meeting a giant! With the help of his Fairy Godmother, Jack must face his greatest fears to save his closest friend. Directed by University of Montevallo alum Karow Wilson, Jack and his Giant adversary are sure to keep young children on the edge of their seats.
Bringing together the talents of Birmingham’s area youth, director Kasaundra Couch will be composing The Green Show. In the days of Shakespeare, the Green Show was a free performance held on the green surrounding the theatre. In that tradition, this troupe of young actors will combine theatre, song and dance to entertain waiting audiences at Brookwood Village before each performance of The Three Musketeers. Free to all if you find yourself in the right spot at the right time.
As with all new beginnings, we are excited to see where this festival can go and grow! We're a company of big dreamers here at BCT, with a strong vision to provide high-quality theatrical entertainment to anyone who enters our doors. So put away your "adulting" and come enjoy a dive into the adventure and thrills of these literary classics. We'll see you at the Magic City Theatre Festival!
Tickets and further information for each show can be found here.
About the Magic City Theatre Festival: The Magic City Theatre Festival was created to provide exciting, high-quality summer entertainment for all ages. Expanding on their core values to educate, enrich and entertain, the Birmingham Children’s Theatre believes this festival creates an opportunity for the whole of the Birmingham community to engage with each other and these classic stories brought to life onstage.