Monkey Business

09.19.10 | 10 Comments

CATEGORIES advocacy, conversation starter, education, ideas, Uncategorized

In the world of arts advocacy and audience development, one of the common, repeatable concepts is that if you bring kids to the theatre young, you’ll have them for life.

I’ve been contemplating how our small theatre centric, internet savvy community could help make children aware of the process. We talk a lot about how we are selling an experience; so how can that translate down to children? How can we make ourselves accessible to those who haven’t made up their minds about us? How can we show kids the deeply fun, rewarding work that we do? How can we provide a Sesame Street experience for arts education?

I know that we would bring our love of the internet, our love of the art, and our deep and abiding commitment to silliness to such a project.

This morning I was playing with a few children at church before the service began. We were playing with a small group of pirate sock monkeys. And I thought about Noah, a blogging sock monkey superstar, who has become a minor local celebrity in Oklahoma City.

Photo 79

Meet Benedict. He’s a Shakespearean actor sock monkey knitted for me by my friend Jana. He’s been seen out at the 2010 Bloomsday, hosted by Blue Planet Writers’ Room, where he lost the James Joyce look-a-like competition.

I want to send Benedict on a cross country journey.

I want him to explore all the aspects of our respect careers and theatres. At each theatre, his 2amt guardian will take pictures of him spending time doing whatever they’re doing. And he’ll blog and tweet about his experiences at your theatres and events — showing kids (and the rest of us) what it’s like to be a working theatre professional.

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week hearing that what we do is not important or not real work. I’d like to create a world where we don’t have those perceptions. And this seems like a place to start.

Interested in hosting Benedict? Have an upcoming theatre event that would be made even better by the presence of a sock monkey? Let me know. I’m going to work on creating a blog, twitter account, and calendar. My current plans are for Benedict to live blog with me through the 24 Hour Theatre Project on October 3 and 4, but after that…there’s a whole 2amt world to explore.

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Andie Arthur

Andie Arthur is a playwright and theatre administrator in Miami. She is the executive director of the South Florida Theatre League, the co-founder of Lost Girls Theatre, and the Florida Regional Rep of the Dramatists Guild.

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  • Sign me up. He can sit with me in my study and watch me write one morning. I’d love to host him!

  • 11:11 Theatre Company has two productions coming up, and he’d be welcome at either one! Let me know if he’d like to join us in Boston for Poe; a fever dream or Her Red Umbrella. http://www.1111theatre.com

  • I’m in. We have a great kid’s company in Vancouver, I’m sure we could make something happen with them….

  • Shane

    Sing me up too! I’ll take him to the North Carolina High School Play Festival and to theatres all over North Carolina!

  • jimhalloran

    We would love to have Benedict visit our offices at CTG in LA! Keep me posted on the deets.

  • Katherine

    I’ve got tickets to Oklahoma! at Arena Stage… has announced eight of the events that will be part of its 2010-2011 season, the company’s inaugural year in its refurbished and new facilities at the Mead Center for American Theater. Benedict is welcome to a photo op with me there! katherine

  • Anonymous

    Benedict could come to New York, see a show, visit the prison and sit in on some actor coaching, if he wants to.

    • I’d love a visit from Benedict – he can watch as I go through the preliminary steps of starting a theater company…

  • I’m about to be SMing for the local kids Theatre company that Rebecca was talking about. I’d be happy to host him and bring him to rehearsals or a show.

  • I’d love to host Benedict! I’m a high school teacher in North Carolina. Our festival is Nov 6th. Would love to have another guest!