Scenes from the Bushnell

Bushnell Children's Theatre

Introduced in 1973, Bushnell Children's Theatre (BCT) has grown from a few shows for the Pre-K to second grade audience to history-rich shows for middle school students and edgier, issues-based shows for high school students. Each year, the goal is to present a series designed to enhance students' appreciation of literature, history, language arts, and cultural diversity.

Some examples from shows presented the last few seasons include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, based on the book by Eric Carle, which reinforced early lessons about counting for the Pre-K audience. For the first- and second-graders, the caterpillar's metamorphosis demonstrated the life cycle. The Rainbow Fish , based on the book by Marcus Pfister, taught young audiences a valuable lesson about sharing. Against the backdrop of a graffiti-riddled inner city neighborhood, Captain Louie, based on the book The Trip by Ezra Jack Keats, explored multicultural friendships and celebrated creativity.

For older students, performances about the courage of Anne Frank, the dignity of Jackie Robinson, and the struggles and triumphs of Zora Neale Hurston showed how one person could make a difference in the world. The House on Mango Street, based on the book by Sandra Cisneros, showed young Esperanza Cordero's struggle between the culture of her roots and the beckoning American landscape. A smart, sensitive young boy came to terms with his father's death on September 11, 2001 in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, from the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

All of the BCT programs are staged by national and international companies known for their quality productions. Most shows include study guides with pre- and post-show activities teachers can use to deepen the theatrical experience for their students. Some performances include post-show discussions held in the theater with the cast.

The majority of the students who attend our BCT performances come from public and private schools. Home-schooled students are welcome as well, as are nursery schools and daycare centers. Individuals purchase tickets to BCT too. The words of writer and activist Rachel Carson express the belief behind BCT: "If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult to share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in."

Click to view upcoming Bushnell Children's Theatre shows