Multicultural Folktale Theatre

Scene from The Bridge and the Dream show for school assemblies

Fun educational shows for:

school assemblies

school family nights

after-school programs

library reading programs


family audiences


community groups

For the 2014-15 School Year: “3..2..1.. Activate”

Opening in June 2014 and available through May 2015, will feature folktales from around the worldspecifically chosen to highlight the 2014 summer reading themes Fizz, Boom, Read and Paws to Read and support curriculum goals.

blanket toss from Something from NothingBaby gets a new blankie - from Something from Nothingscene from Something from Nothing - scarf and mama puppetpuppet socks - scene from Something from Nothing
  • The Dragon Of Krakow - The city of Krakow, back in the days when it was just a village, is being besieged by a ruthless dragon, and the villagers are powerless to stop it. Or are they? The shoemaker's apprentice may have a solution by being very creative with the materials he has on hand defeating the dragon with a fizz and a boom. Complete with an exploding menacing sheep-eating dragon on stage.
  • Red Riding Hood - Everybody knows this classic story that originated in France and was popularized by the Brothers Grimm; its perennial popularity may have contributed to the unsavory reputation that wolves have had. But wolves are often misunderstood, and we believe the one who encountered Red Riding Hood and her granny may have been a victim of bad PR. Presented with music, dance and mime.
  • Something From Nothing - A poetic tale from Eastern Europe about the importance of tradition, heritage and family ties. A retired tailor makes a blanket for his granddaughter from fabric that his grandmother had made. When she wears out the blanket, he turns it into something else, and something else, and so on. In the end the girl learns the importance of writing things down so others can read about them.
  • The Boy Who Wanted A Drum - This story from India tells of a poor boy who dreams of owning a drum and being a musician, but his mother can give him nothing more than a piece of wood. But when he encounters a woman who needs such a piece of wood and gives it to her, it begins a series of exchanges in which he helps other people obtain what they want, which ultimately leads him to what he wants. The audience gets in on the act by joining in with the percussion.
  • Fox reading Aesop Fables

    Tops and Bottoms is our retelling of a Scandinavian version of a tale that has appeared in many different forms and cultures, going all the way back to Aesop. It's a classic example of a trickster tale, with one animal (in this case a fox) outwitting another (in this case a bear) in the choice of which part of a crop to take – the tops or the bottoms.

    Scenes from Tops and Bottoms

    The bullying Bear insists that the Fox is trespassing on his land, though the Fox has a deed to it. So the sly Fox makes the Bear an offer he can't refuse about how to share the land and the food it produces.

    The presentation style for this story is inspired in part by Warner Brothers cartoons, particularly The Road Runner, which in turn is inspired by Native American trickster tales involving the character known as Coyote Trickster. To emphasize the cartoonish nature of this interpretation, we enact some parts of the story in pantomime to music. We also incorporate a great deal of slapstick involving comically exaggerated props. We even include our famous tennis racket stunt, which has been a popular staple of our act for more than a decade. Grades: PreK-3

  • Simple Ivan with chicken on head

    Simple Ivan One of the perennial favorites, the Russian story Simple Ivan is one of the classic "noodlehead" stories, which feature young simpletons committing hilarious blunders – and sometimes achieving wisdom in the end. Many tales are told about Ivan, which is the Russian equivalent of John. In English-language noodlehead stories, the character is often named John, Johnny or Jack; and there are Hispanic stories about Juan Bobo (John the Fool).

    Ivan's amusing misadventures result from his attempts to follow his mother's advice, doing the right thing at the wrong time – much to the annoyance of the peasants and villagers he encounters, and the delight of the audiences who encounter him.

    Since the story depends largely on broad physical activity, the story is presented in pantomime set to music, with opportunities for audience members to be guest stars. Grades: 1-8

Every show is presented by professional performers and features witty scripts, costumes, imaginative props, music, song and dance, masks and puppets, nonstop action, American Sign Language, physical comedy and audience participation. All set before a gigantic oversized book that encourages reading and promotes a love of literature.

"Activated Story Theatre was awesome! We see a play every year, but this is the first time many of our teachers came to me to tell how wonderful it was. We were all very pleased!" ~Julie Haught, Second Grade Teacher/Assembly Coordinator, Mount Dora, FL


Print and share flyer
Download a flyer to print and share with your favorite library or school. (PDF format).

Yes, we sign!

American Sign Language
in every show

Library Bonus:

At the end of library performances the performers encourage the audience to find and check out books related to the show.

Parts for Kids:

30 minute pre-show workshop/rehearsal included. Some of the stories include roles for up to 12 kids to play. The guest stars attend a pre-show rehearsal 1/2 hour before show time. Students will learn their roles, some will have speaking parts. All will learn acting techniques, don costumes and enjoy the applause.

"I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful performances in our two schools. The teachers and students are still buzzing about how great it was." ~Phyllis Boswell, Assembly Coordinator, Crawsfordville, IN


Closing May 2014

Each show is 45 minutes long and features TWO 20-25 minute folktales. A 30 minute pre-show workshop/rehearsal for up to 12 "guest stars" from your school/ community is included. The following stories are available June 2013 - May 2014. To schedule a show please send a booking request.

Dream GenieThe Bridge and the Dream is a Middle Eastern story that was included in The Arabian Nights, and appears in many variations in countries of that region. This particular version is most similar to the Turkish edition of the tale, which takes place in Istanbul and Cairo. There are also similar stories in other countries around the world – including our hit tale Follow the Buzz from Japan, which is built on the same theme of a poor man having a dream about a treasure and undertaking a long journey to find it.

This story is presented in a vaudevillian style, with characters that would be at home in a Marx Brothers movie, delivering rapid fire gags, zany non-sequiturs, clever wordplay and slapstick. The principal characters are dressed in costumes carefully modeled after period Ottoman (Turkish) clothing. There's even an appearance by a genie in a dream sequence performed in dance to original music. This story also offers optional roles for kids from the audience. Grades: K-8

Scenes from The Bridge and the Dream

Scenes from The Iron Dragon

Scenes from The Hat Seller and the Monkey


Switching hats in The Iron DragonThe Iron Dragon is a relatively recent folktale that originated in California among Chinese railroad workers in the Nineteenth Century. Based in part on the retelling by Kathleen Chang in the book Iron Moonhunter, this is a symbolic tale about homesick immigrants honoring and preserving their own heritage while forging a new life for themselves in America.

With the aid of many hats and some three-dimensional stick figures to help wear them, this story is presented
in a unique performance style that sometimes has the actors switching characters in mid-sentence. It also incorporates the traditional Chinese arts of tai chi and shadow puppetry. There are even ghosts involved, making The Iron Dragon a good choice for Halloween. Optional parts available for kids from the audience. Grades: 3-8

Monkey wears all of the HatsThe Hat Seller and the Monkey is a tale that has been told in many cultures, though the version we prefer has been traced to Mali in Africa. (The story was popularized by the book Caps for Sale.) The story is presented entirely in pantomime to original music, making it ideal for audiences that may not speak English.

The Hat Seller gets lost in the jungle and decides to take a nap. The mischievous Monkey steals all his hats, and won't give them back. The Hat Seller tries several approaches in dealing with the monkey, but the monkey just mimics everything he does. Then the Hat Seller has a serendipity about how to get his hats back successfully.

This story makes use of many fun props and a great deal of slapstick. Grades: PreK-4

Enrich the Learning Experience:

Residency Programs


Study Guides

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Send a booking request, call (800) 429-6576 or send us an Email to schedule a date or request more information.

"Your animated movements, expressions and humor kept everyone involved throughout. It was wonderful to see children participate in performing, and your use of sign language was a special treat as well." ~Kathleen Buettner, Librarian, Monterey, CA