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Category Archives: Summer Pageant in the Park

Summer Pageant in the Park 2012 in Photos

Theatre Action Project’s Summer Pageant in the Park  on  June 23rd was an explosion of color, giant puppets and fun parade elements. Elementary students, their families, TAP Teaching Artists and staff marched in celebration of How Our Food Grows.

Here are just  a few photos  from behind the scenes leading up to Pageant day. We invite you to visit our Facebook and Flickr pages to view many more fun photos. We also invite you to share your Pageant photos with us. Email us at

Cassie Swayze, left and Patrick Torres, right prepare for the event. Caroline Reck, center on Pageant day.

Happy Teaching Artists, Aron Taylor, left, Christin Davis, and Noel Gaulin lead the cheers in the parade.

Winter, Spring, and Summer seasons at Summer Pageant in the Park.

Summer Pageant: Exploring How our Food Grows

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

This Saturday is our annual Summer Pageant in the Park and my second year participating in the spectacle. Exploring the idea of How Our Food Grows, we added a few new books to the Theatre Action Project (TAP) library to teach students about harvesting, planting, and exploring a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons is a straightforward approach to growing vegetables from seed to table. Gail Gibbons’ books are always educational, beautifully illustrated, and well suited for any classroom of students. Eight groups of vegetables are identified using cheerful pictures and descriptions. This book was useful to our Summer Pageant in the Park classes as they chose vegetables to create for each season that will be presented at the event. The Vegetables We Eat is a valuable educational tool for students learning about growing, harvesting, and eating healthy food.

The Reason for Seasons by Gail Gibbons provides a simple explanation of why the seasons change, how seasons are different on other sides of the globe, different types of clouds, and much more! The Reason for Seasons is more appropriate for an older group of students than The Vegetables We Eat, but its illustrations are equally colorful and engaging.

Our Summer Pageant in the Park features work from nine schools and building large-scale puppets, costumes, and masks for 180 students is no small feat! A big TAP-tastic thank you to our After-School volunteers who generously donated over 80 hours this month in the classroom preparing for this event:

  • Lucie Cunningham
  • Katie Davis
  • Margarita Hutchinson
  • Chris Ledesma
  • Kat Townsend
  • Susan Reifsteck
  • Sweta Vakani
Join this Saturday, June 23rd for Summer Pageant in the Park at 10 a.m. Students will gather at the Sustainable Food Center Farmers’ Market Downtown to march in a grand procession of the year’s seasons, bringing all their puppets together culminating in a visual and aural spectacle. The public is invited to join the parade. The FREE family event will be followed by fun watermelon-eating and seed-spitting contests hosted by the Farmer’s Market as part of the Watermelon Festival.

P.S. I never went to summer camp growing up, but my favorite summertime memory was playing on the beach in San Diego with my sisters. We went every day all summer for twelve years!

Summer Pageant Makes a Great Community Gathering

by Chelsea Gilman, Business Manager

The last 2 summers, I have attended Theatre Action Project’s Pageant in the Park at the downtown farmer’s market.  It was so much fun to see all the great puppets the kids had made, and march in the parade with a giant piece of paper mache fruit.

It’s a great feeling to be a part of the community gathering, teaching youth and their families about how our food grows.  In addition, it’s a fun spectacle to watch.

This year’s pageant will take place on Saturday, June 23 at 10:00 am.  Hope you can make it out!

P.S. I have plenty of summer camp memories.  Having spent 9 summers of my life at a camp in Bruceville, TX, I’m excited to return this summer for a camp reunion.  They’ve made so many additions to the camp, including creating a garden of their own, to teach campers about growing local produce and healthy eating.  I can’t wait to see what they’re growing.  Perhaps I’ll get ideas for my own garden.

For more info on TAP summer camps, and to register click here

Canvassing for Pageant Volunteers to Help with After-School

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate AmeriCorps VISTA

Theatre Action Project is currently seeking volunteers to assist Teaching Artists as they prepare for the 5th Annual Pageant in the Park on Saturday, June 23rd. This fun event focuses on the effects of the changing seasons on food harvest, native Texas farming, and the benefits of healthy eating. TAP Teaching Artists, volunteers, and students will create large-scale puppets, banners, costumes, and much more for this colorful afternoon in the park.

Here is a map of participating schools; most classes take place 12- 4 p.m., June 4-28th. Volunteers must commit to helping once a week or more at a campus. We are flexible and happy to find a schedule that works for YOU!

Contact Cassie Swayze at or call 512-442-8773 x109 to schedule an orientation.

Spreading the News

by Mary Alice Carnes, Community Relations Director

My goal for the New Year is to continue to sing out the good news about Theatre Action Project’s mission and impact. 2011 was a banner year for highlighting TAP’s work via the media–press and social media–who put the spotlight on  Sara Hickman’s The Best of Times CD to benefit TAP, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell talking with the Courage in Action All Stars at Austin City Hall , or Nitra Gutierrez discussing how Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble changes the lives of its young participants and audiences. TAP is spreading the news about how it inspires youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers and confident leaders, and my mission continues.

Shifting from serious to fun, who would have believed we would have a passionate “cupcake wars” on Twitter, Facebook and KEYE TV with last October’s Cupcake a Doodle Do! event? Austin proved it is serious about cupcakes and ardent about  supporting TAP.

I invite you to join the discussion. Send us your thoughts about arts education, ideas for stopping bullying in 2012, and tell us how creativity feeds your soul. Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@TAPAustin), flip through our photo collection on Flickr, or sign up to be a TAP blog subscriber.

If you missed a TAP interview or article, check out our press page. In the meantime, here are a few highlights from 2011. Click on the links below to view, listen, or read:

Fast Forward

by Freddy Carnes, Artistic Associate

I started working at Theatre Action Project in 2005; I was a Teaching Artist that first year and we had almost no work the summer of 2006.  I had to get another summer job to survive before I became a full time staff member in August of 2006.

Fast forward to 2011.

We started the summer with the Summer Pageant in the Park, which included two weeks of a camp that culminated in the performance downtown at Republic Square Park.  We marched through the farmer’s market and then  ended the pageant with The Beatles “Here Comes the Sun”.

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Learning in Italy

by Karen LaShelle, Executive and Artistic Director

It has been a busy 12 months…and I am just now finding the time to write about what I did last summer!

Last June I was given an incredible opportunity to learn more about a passion of mine: large scale puppetry and pageantry.  I traveled to Morinesio, Italy to work with some of the best large scale puppeteers in the country, Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles of Processional Arts Workshop a.k.a. Superior Concept Monsters.  Sophia and Alex have been the lead artists for the New York City Halloween Parade since 1998 and their imaginative, ambitious and inventive work has been a part of festivals and events all over the world. 

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