Field Trip! Meet the Story Pirates & The Pop Ups!
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the KidLit TV studios in Tribeca, the team’s September field trip led them to a unique venue in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan. Symphony Space, a multi-disciplinary performing arts center, caters to artists and audiences alike via innovative creative programming, performances, and educational opportunities. Genres the family-friendly space embraces include literature, music, comedy, film, theater, and dance.
On this particular visit, the KidLit TV team was treated to a preview of the ‘Just Kidding’ series with performances by two of Symphony Space’s favorites: Story Pirates and the Grammy-nominated group, The Pop Ups. And it was fantastic!
The Story Pirates
The bicoastal Story Pirates work their magic in New York City and Los Angeles. Story Pirates’ mission is to “celebrate the words, ideas and stories of young people.” To accomplish this mission, this respected media and education organization transforms children’s written work into theatrical performance. In doing so, they aim to facilitate kids’ ability to “develop their creative writing skills. . . by exploring character building and the elements of dramatic improvisation.”
During the show, theater goers were encouraged to interact with the performers and to imagine and act as though they were children. Audience members were called upon to help create the story by asking the performers to take on certain roles and characteristics. Audience members even chose the ending and decided whether heroes learned their lessons or villains became even more villainous. Suspenseful and exciting, the Story Pirates’ show was one audience members will be talking about long after the curtains are drawn.
The Pop Ups
Primed by freeing their inner child during the Story Pirates experience, the KidLit TV team was perfectly positioned to enjoy stage two of the field trip: a performance by The Pop Ups. The Pop Ups are the brainchild of Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein: a two-time Grammy-nominated children’s musical duo based in neighboring Brooklyn. In fact, the Wall Street Journal has noted that their music “reflects the creativity percolating on the independent children’s music scene,” and Time Out New York Kids recognizes them as “one of the top 15 kids’ music bands in the nation.”
The audience couldn’t help but laugh and play along as Rabinowitz and Stein set the stage with cardboard props and hand-painted sets. Then the music began and the real fun started. Rainbow streamers streaked through the air and audience members tossed balloons to one another. The Pop Ups’ story came alive as they sang and created vibrant characters with a box of crayons.
During our interview with The Pop Ups, they described their new album, “The Great Pretenders Club.” They also emphasized the importance of story time and play.
“Animals and humans learn through play. It’s crucial for development: socially, intellectually, and emotionally. Play is. . . healthy!”
The KidLit TV team could not agree more. Creative outlets, story time, and play are vital for children to learn, to grow, and to lead healthy lives. If you are looking for new and exciting ways to provide these indispensable benefits for your kids, consider spending the day at Symphony Space. An extra bonus: kids aren’t the only ones who will love it. You will, too!