Welcome to Our 2020-2021 Touring Roster!
As we enter our third year as the Co-Directors of Holden & Arts Associates, we are discovering so much about ourselves, both personally and professionally. We are taking ownership of how we as women want to lead our organization as well as our families, with an emphasis on values that encourage discovery, cultivate curiosity, and learning more about the world around us.
This last year was an exciting time of growth for us. Spring represented HAA at the Belfast International Children’s Festival and the TYA/USA National Festival and Conference in Atlanta. Sarah became a new mother and brought baby Beatrix along with her to IPAY (baby’s first showcase!) Stacy served on planning committees and professional development panels for both Arts Midwest and APAP. This year we’re eager to see more new work, support our presenting and artistic partners, and to TRAVEL.
The world we live in can sometimes feel quite small and limited in terms of what we can access, what is expected of us, and the silos we can get stuck in. But traveling and encountering unfamiliar places and cultures expands our understanding of the world and inspires empathy for our common humanity. We return home with an altered perspective. However, money and time are precious resources. Many people, especially families and children, can’t travel often or freely. But that’s where a good story comes in....Though we may not physically leave the theaters, experiencing live performance takes us on a journey of discovery all the same. That journey can broaden our horizons with possibility and promise, help us find hope, resilience, and power within ourselves to make change in our lives and communities.
We are proud to see this desire for discovery reflected in our touring roster for the 2020-2021 season. Our artists come from all over the world and perform in all kinds of styles but they have one big thing in common - they seek to create a fulfilling experience that will last beyond the curtain call.
These performances are inspired by new and classic literature, folktales, the natural world, and our own troubled times. There are journeys, big and small. Whether it’s Flat Stanley mailing himself out to sights unseen in The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley or a mischievous duo diving deep into a hand-drawn ocean in Doodle POP, we see characters going on life-changing journeys. Some of the artists even leave the Earth behind and travel into outer space like in Secrets of Space. In celebrating this kind of creative exploration, these productions promote discovering the world beyond one’s own borders.
Of course, this kind of travel isn’t always easy. It takes guts. Bravery. And we see that too - characters struggling to be brave, to do the right thing, to navigate a complicated world and new relationships. In some of these stories, the characters have to learn how to care for each other despite their differences, such as when the little boy tries to be be-friend a star in How To Catch A Star or the tiny snail must figure out how to save the big grey humpback in The Snail and the Whale.
Other stories will inspire young people to claim their voice and discover its power. David Gonzalez tells the story of a humble boy who inspires a whole kingdom with his ability to share what is in his heart in The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures. In Baba Yaga, Vaselina isn’t eaten by the supposedly evil witch but rather gets an appetite for boldness and making her own rules.
Power can also be found through challenging assumptions. Maybe it’s the joy of watching a boy dancing innocently in a beautiful skirt in Getting Dressed. Or the tense moment when Karem’s backpack is opened in The In-Between - does he have a bomb? Or something else entirely? Surprising moments like these add up into powerful experiences that will upend expectations and make you question the stereotypes that surround us.
As agents, artists, and presenters we have a responsibility to our audiences. To represent, to create, and to program work that matters….To help our young people and families discover that the world is much bigger than perhaps they first believed. We look forward to another year of meaningful, transportive work together.
Spring Karlo, Stacy Meshbane, and Sarah Saltwick