On December 9th, Paramount Academy for the Arts had the honor of accompanying Lionheart Youth Theatre’s cast of Peter & the Wolf to the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas for a special presentation. The production is a collaboration that brought together Austin’s own Mother Falcon and amazing local puppetry company, Glass Half Full Theatre. On the Stateside stage, the company performed for over 2000 students during a week of student matinees, and five virtually sold out public performances over the weekend. It was a huge success, but it was this special presentation at the hospital that became the highlight of our week.
It was a glorious – and warm – December afternoon in one of the hospital’s outdoor courtyards, making for the perfect setting.
Working closely with the Child Life team at Dell, the Paramount has been seeking ways to offer experiences for children who cannot leave the hospital for a live show. When approaching the Peter & the Wolf team, it was a no-brainer. The company brought eight of the musicians from Mother Falcon and three members from Glass Half Full. Most importantly, they brought Petra and the duck, cat, and bird puppets and from the show (in this new adaptation of the 1936 classic, Petra is the granddaughter of Peter). This re-imagining of Peter & the Wolf challenges traditional concepts of bravery and attempts to tell the wolf’s side of the story as well. It also features a brand new, beautiful score created and performed by Mother Falcon! The crew performed a few wonderful scenes between Petra and her duck, highlighting the comical relationship between the characters.
After the short scenes were performed, Gricelda Silva (the actress who plays Petra, and only non-puppet character in the show) read the original version of Peter & the Wolf to the children. Then the presentation was turned over to Mother Falcon, who proceeded to play additional numbers from the show, as well showcasing some of the original Sergei Prokofiev score for comparison. But the real “show stopper” moment happened when the puppets interacted the audience while the band played. It was a “puppet petting zoo” – from snuggling in laps and nudging legs, to giving hugs and kisses, the kids were loving on these exceptionally crafted puppets like they were live animals. The way they interacted with the kids was a joy to witness, and it was hard to watch with a dry eye. Many of the Child Life representatives even commented that pet therapy is very common in the hospital and that interaction with the puppets had a similar impact. As if this event wasn’t already a delight, our new partner, Toy Joy, came and gave toys to every child in attendance. Children were laughing, dancing, smiling, playing, and simply getting to be kids!
This is why we do what we do. It’s our mission to reach young people through the arts and make their day a little brighter – especially those who can’t make it to the theatre. The arts changes lives and last Wednesday, our time with Dell Children’s and the Peter & the Wolf cast was living proof – if only for an afternoon. Thank you to ALL parties who helped us create an opportunity like this for young patients! The Paramount Academy for the Arts looks forward to returning to the hospital very soon.Tags: austin, austin family, dell children's hospital, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, family and education, family events, mother falcon, mother falcon band, mother falcon music, peter and the wolf
This post was written by Maica Jordan