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Join the Parade – Summer Pageant in the Park

By Dustin Wills, Programming Specialist

Theatre Action Project has hosted hundreds of families at its annual Summer Pageant in the Park. This Saturday, June 18 at 11 a.m., at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown (at Republic Square Park. – 4th and Guadalupe), we will once again honor this tradition.

This summer will be particularly bittersweet pageant for me, as it will be my last big event with Theatre Action Project before I head up to Yankee country for graduate school. Four years ago in 2008, I was a teaching artist working with T.A. Brown, Wooldridge, Reilly and Hart Elementary schools on TAP’s first ever pageant – a puppetry spectacle presenting the enchanting Oaxacan legend The Woman Who Outshone the Sun. This initial pageant occurred at Patterson Park, involved live music, families, a picnic and of course, the main event.

In 2009, I got to coordinate the pageant. We moved it to the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown, which has been its home the past three years, and since then we’ve let the market itself influence our theme each year. Our first year downtown we presented the story of Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers of California. This looked more like a play than any of the other pageants and effectively prepared the students with the ability to talk about fairness, worker’s rights, non-violent approaches to conflict and farming history.

Two-Thousand Ten took us away from a play format and the pageant took the shape of a puppetry procession and sing along. Last year we explored the theme of Imagination as our gateway to the future. Students from six schools created large “pollution puppets” which were marched around the market and transformed through an Imagination Machine. This machine converted all the pollution into green solutions dealing with water, wind and solar energies.

This year we are excited to present another procession and sing-a-long titled How our Food Grows. Seven schools have been learning about the seasons and their relationship to food growth, farming and harvests. Each summer campsite has been assigned a season and will march giant procession puppets through the market in fantastic patterns, culminating in a seed planting ritual and song.

We’re inviting the public to come join the parade. Meet us at 11 a.m. at the SFC Farmers’ Market downtown for all the fun.

Next year, the pageant is considering some exciting location changes, so please come out to what may be our last Summer Pageant at the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown. It’s sure to be a thrilling feast for the eyes!

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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