Chicago Children's Theatre announces RED KITE, BROWN BOX - theater for kids with autism & their families
What child doesn’t love playing with big brown cardboard boxes? Red Kite, Brown Box is a nationally unique, live theater experience that leads young people with autism, their families and caregivers on an imaginative journey where simple cardboard boxes transform into a safe, magical world full of treasures and joyous play.
Conceived and directed by CCT Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell, Red Kite, Brown Box is a transformative live educational experience created for children with autism and sensory sensitivities.
Performances are February 28-March 21, 2020: Fridays at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Saturdays at Noon and 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. Run time is 60 minutes. Red Kite, Brown Box is recommended for ages five and up. For tickets and information, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call CCT Guest Services, (312) 374-8835.
Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, is located at 100 S. Racine Ave., at Monroe, in Chicago’s West Loop. It’s minutes from I-90 and I-290, as well as downtown and Ashland Avenue. Free onsite parking is available in the lot adjacent to the theater.
More about Red Kite, Brown Box
Tailored to the unique needs of young people on the autism spectrum, Red Kite, Brown Box is a multi-sensory adventure that encourages its audience members to move, laugh, talk, sing and interact with the artists – not sit still and keep quiet. Specially trained teaching artists gently guide children into a home filled with empty cardboard moving boxes, ideal for climbing and hiding inside, that also morph into magical forts, homes, vehicles, even robots.
“Red Kite experiences allow children to explore each performance however they like,” explained Russell. “One child may touch and play with all the props, while another sits quietly, reluctant to participate and a third child joins right in with all of the songs and dances, and that’s all okay.”
Before coming to the theater, each child and adult is sent a Social Story that prepares families for the experience of attending Red Kite, Brown Box at Chicago Children’s Theatre. Advance preparation is key to foster a safe, welcoming environment, so the guide starts with pictorials showing what it’s like arriving at the theater, introduces the actors, teaching artists and CCT staff members they’ll meet, and previews the adventure itself.
Each showing is limited to an audience of just 10 children (each with a caregiver or parent) so that each child receives plenty of individual attention.
Russell (creator) is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Chicago Children’s Theatre, where she oversees all mainstage programming, education outreach programs, and Access initiatives including The Red Kite Project for children on the autism spectrum. In 2010, she was appointed by the U.S. State Department to serve as Cultural Envoy to Canada where she made several trips to write and direct original Red Kite productions. In 2013, the Chicago chapter of Autism Speaks honored her with the 2013 Hero of the Year Award. In 2019, Chicago Children’s Theater earned the National TYA Artistic Innovation Award from Theatre of Young Audiences/USA for “significantly expanding the TYA canon while creating new pathways of access for underrepresented audiences.”
Red Kite, Brown Box, one of seven Red Kite live experiences created by Chicago’s Children’s Theatre, was originally devised in 2013 in association with Theatre Direct, Toronto. It debuted in 2014 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park and has since gone on national tours. Russell still leads professional development workshops for educators, artists, and medical specialists, and continues to work in classrooms. Her most recent project, X Marks the Spot, is an inclusive new theater experience that uses sounds, voices, tastes, and touchable, scented props. It is inspired by her work with children with low vision, but is a multisensory experience intended for all audiences.
Led by Founding Artistic Director, Jacqueline Russell, Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded in 2005 with a big idea: Chicago is the greatest theater city in the world, and it deserves a great children’s theater. Fifteen years later, CCT is Chicago’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families.
Chicago Children’s Theatre has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theater, with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise. Chicago Children’s Theatre remains dedicated to creating awe-inspiring theatrical productions and programs through inclusion and accessibility, and inspiring young people and families to lead lives of adventure, courage and curiosity.
In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of its new, permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, located at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop community. The building, formerly the Chicago Police Station for the 12th District, was repurposed into a beautiful, LEED Gold-certified, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that now welcomes all Chicago families.
CCT offers free tickets to more than 5,000 low-income students each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. CCT also continues to grow its performing arts and STEAM education programs, offering classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps for ages 0 to 13.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Armando Chacon. For more, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
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