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Story Explorers

A new musical for children with autism and other special needs
Book, Music & Lyrics by Min Kahng
Directed by Hannah Dworkin
Produced by Bay Area Children's Theatre.

This project was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, The East Bay Community Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, and the generosity of individual donors.

In the Theatre for Young Audiences community, there has been a substantial push for more sensory-friendly performances - performances which take into consideration the needs of audiences living with autism and other special needs. I am partnering with Bay Area Children's Theatre to bring the first sensory-friendly work to their stage.

While brainstorming what this new work could be, I couldn't shake the feeling that instead of creating a story for the children, we should somehow be giving voice to their stories. Thus came the genesis of Story Explorers. The basic idea behind Story Explorers is to collect stories from children living with autism or special needs, and to adapt those stories into a full musical production.

During September–December 2015, workshops were conducted in special needs classrooms at a partnering Bay Area school. These workshops used art, physical activity, writing and other methods to inspire the children to tell stories. These stories will now serve as the source material for the musical.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

  • Feb-Mar 2017, World Premiere: Bay Area Children's Theatre at The Osher Studio in Berkeley, CA

Listen to songs from Story Explorers! 
Featuring the original world premiere cast: Hannah Dworkin, Min Kahng, Andre San-Chez, Anna Smith, and Austin Zumbro!

Photography by Melissa Nigro.