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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Welcome back! As the sun continues to shine, our Summer Field Guides continue with more fun-filled activities that are perfect for the whole family. In this guide, we get to know two upcoming shows that teach us the importance of family and companionship, A Sky for the Bears and Pss Pss

From inventive shadow puppetry to silly slapstick, these shows are not to be missed. Read on to discover crafty and unique activities that will leave you counting down the days until the 2017-18 Season begins!
 
Contributed by Caroline Dowden, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

A Sky for the Bears

In A Sky for the Bears, two heartfelt stories come to life through the use of shadow puppetry and physical theater. In the first, a handsome bear realizes what he wants most of all is a cub of his own. In the second story, a young bear is devastated by the death of his grandfather and wishes to join him in the sky. Both protagonists set out on different journeys, only to discover that the answers to their hearts' desires are closer than they think. 

Unleash your family's creative side by making your own simple shadow puppets in this Family Activity! All you'll need are these shadow puppet templates, a pencil, cardboard or cardstock, scissors, tape and a lamp or flashlight.

Once you've collected all of your tools, it's time to make your shadow puppet come to life!
  1. Use your templates to trace an outline onto the cardboard, and use your scissors to cut it out.
  2. Grab a few pieces of tape to attach your pencil to the back of each of your puppets.
  3. Place a lamp on the ground, or on a table. Point your lamp to the wall. Don't forget to turn it on! Turn off all other lights and close the curtains.  
  4. Hold your puppets between the light and wall. If you can spot a shadow on the wall, then you've succeeded! Try moving the puppets closer to the light or the wall to see what happens.
  5. Experiment with other household objects to see what kinds of shadows they cast. Try using your hands! What shapes can you make?
  6. Create your own performance with your new puppets. Make sure to use movement, just like the performers in A Sky for the Bears
Record a video of the story you create and make sure to tag us when you share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

Pss Pss

In Pss Pss, two clowns gracefully fumble through mishaps, tricks and acrobatics—all without saying a word! Inspired by silent films, this zany duo flaunts their friendship in a sweet, slapstick routine. 

Want to know a way you can tell your family you love them without making a peep? Try your hand at American Sign Language, a visual language used by the Deaf community throughout the United States. ASL uses your hands, face and body to communicate complex thoughts with vivid gestures. 

Be warned: ASL has a completely different set of grammar rules than English. But there's a sign for each letter of the English alphabet, so use this chart to S-P-E-L-L to your H-E-A-R-T'S content! Check out our favorite words below to show your family just how much you care.

I Love You: Place your middle and ring fingers flat against your palm and keep the others outstretched. This sign is a combination of the signs for the letters I, L and Y. 

Love

Love: Cross both arms over your chest (and close to the heart!) as if you were giving your best friend a tight hug. 

I love you

Friend: This sign looks like a chain—because you'll always be linked together! Hook your two pointer fingers together and then switch your linked fingers to complete the sign. 

Friend


Pss Pss FrameAre you interested in learning more about ASL? Check out our sign-interpreted performances throughout the 2017-18 Season!

Take your friend power to the next level by taking a picture! Grab a friend, strike your favorite sign and print it out. For an added kick, try a black and white filter. Your photo will look just like a still from a vintage silent film. 

To make your photo look extra special, make a frame! You'll just need cardstock, glue and 15 popsicle sticks. 
  1. Glue 11 standard-sized popsicle sticks side-by-side onto a piece of 4.5"x4.5" cardstock. 
  2. Glue two popsicle sticks on each side of the frame. 
  3. Glue your photo in the middle.
  4. Decorate with markers, paint or stickers! Attach ribbon or string to the back so you can hang your frame. 

 
A Sky for the BearsPss Pss Interested in joining us next season? Learn more about A Sky for the Bears and Pss Pss here!
Posted by Beth Henderson

Temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and ice cream trucks are ringing. That can only mean one thing—summer is here! For the next three months, keep checking the blog to find 2017-18 Season-themed Summer Field Guides to get the whole family exploring in the warm weather. 

Here at The New Victory, everyone is eagerly looking forward to our upcoming season. This year, two of our shows, The Young King and Seedfolks, will transport you to a regal kingdom and a vibrant urban community.
 
Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

The Young King 

In The Young King, a boy raised in the countryside suddenly discovers that he is the heir to the throne. The whole world is a stage in this production, with kids exploring the New Vic's transformed theater space, brought to life with stagecraft, puppetry and live music. To get into the royal spirit, imagine what it would be like to be a king or queen for the day!

Well, every king or queen needs a crown! All you need to show off your royal bling is some construction paper, crayons or markers, scissors and a stapler. Cut a piece of construction paper "the long way" to make two strips of paper. 
  1. Draw a zig-zag line across each strip and cut along the peaks.
  2. Decorate the band with crayons, markers and paper shapes. You can draw anything from jewels to bugs to pictures of your kingdom. 
  3. Staple the band in a ring to fit the head of your new king or queen!
Now that you have your crown ready, it's time to visit some castles!  Believe it or not, there are a couple of castles sitting amongst skyscrapers in New York. 

Belvedere Castle
This castle sits in the heart of Central Park. "Bella vedere" means "beautiful view" in Italian—fitting, because it gives the best view of the park and neighboring cityscape! Belvedere Castle isn't just famous for its good looks, the National Weather Service takes measurements from atop the tallest tower to report New York City weather each day.

Belvedere Castle
The Met Cloisters
Beautiful art, lavish gardens and breathtaking architecture makes this one special museum. On Saturday afternoons, the Cloisters host Family Workshops with programs on medieval stories, knights and—yes, kings and queens. The museum itself? Total #castlevibes. 

The Met Cloisters
 
The Park Avenue Armory
Two words: Battle. Castle. This castle started its life as a home for the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard in the 19th century. Now, it's an innovative arts space that hosts theater performances and visual art shows. Stop by for a guided tour and bask in its architectural glory.

Park Avenue Armory

Jefferson Market Library
This isn't your average branch of the New York Public Library. Though it was originally built as a courthouse, its Victorian Gothic style is a bugle call for royal citizens. Curl up inside one of its many reading rooms with a copy of your favorite fairy tale—or maybe even Oscar Wilde's The Young King in his House of Pomegranates anthology.

Jefferson Market Library

Connie Gretz Secret Garden
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden in Staten Island has its own castle. Its picturesque white walls mark the start of a journey into a tall hedge maze that is a perfect puzzle for kids to explore their taste for adventure. At the end of the maze lies a secret garden, based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett children's novel of the same name. 

Connie Gretz Secret Garden
 
Contributed by Caroline Dowden, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

Seedfolks

Based on the award-winning book by Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks is an inspiring one-woman show that tells the story of Kim, a lively, young girl, who brings together her Gibb Street neighborhood from Ana, a crotchety old Romanian woman, to Gonzalo, a feisty Latino teenager, when she grows a garden in an empty lot near her home in Cleveland.
Flower Planter
In this Summer Field Guide, put your gardening skills to the test with your family. All you need to plant your own garden is a window planter, soil, flowers (or other herbs or plants) and small, waterproof toys. Are you ready to let your creativity flourish? Well, nothing beets this fun-loving activity!
  1. Fill the window planter with soil. 
  2. Position the plants to create hiding places for your toys to play.
  3. Create a pathway with things like rocks, seashells or buttons among the elements of your garden.
  4. Introduce your toys and create a story for each of them as they explore their new home! These stories can be as unique as possible. Perhaps each character has their own story like the ones in Seedfolks
Don't have a garden of your own or want to do some more outdoor adventuring? No problem. Below are a few of New York's most flourishing places where you can visit for a fun-filled day.
 
Jefferson Market Garden
When you visit the Jefferson Market Castle, stop by the garden! This garden offers fun-loving community events for children, such as history and garden tours, free musical programs and bloom guides about different flowers during all four seasons. The tree-filled garden, located Greenwich Village, is where you're sure to find a few blooming flowers and shrubs like the Spireas and the Foxgloves. The garden's guides are great if you want to learn more about different types of flowers for each season. 

Jefferson Market Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Here, kids of all ages can explore different habitats, uncover plant mysteries and experience garden wildlife at hands-on exhibits with Brooklyn's Discovery Garden. The garden provides a wide range of conservatories like the unique Shakespeare Garden and the iconic Japanese Garden. Depending on the season you visit, you can explore popular collections like the Aquatic House, Orchid Collection and the Cranford Rose Garden. 

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Liz Christy Community Garden
Come take a look at New York's first community garden (est. 1974)! Located on the northeast corner of Bowery and Houston Streets in Manhattan, the Liz Christy Community Garden is filled with wildflower habitat, vegetable gardens and much more. The garden is divided into individual areas that are cared for by their talented staff. If you want to gain experience in gardening, this is great place to volunteer during open hours. In fact, if you volunteer in the garden for 20 hours, you're eligible for a free membership!

Liz Christy Community Garden
 
The Gardens at St. Luke
These beautiful gardens sit next to the Church of Saint Luke's on Hudson Street. The gardens provide over two-thirds of an acre of Native American flora and rare hybrids. The space is perfect for long walks with family and friends. The gardens are comprised of different areas such as the Barrow Street Garden and the North Garden. If you need a peaceful place to gather your thoughts and enjoy the outdoors, you have come to the perfect spot. 

The Gardens at St. Luke
 
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, this National Historic Landmark is the largest garden in the United States. The NYBG contains a variety of gardens and collections that are spread over 250 acres. Scientists at the gardens are always finding ways to develop their plant research and conservation. Not only do the gardens grow plants—they grow programs, creativity and students who experience hands-on activities. Kids' programs include gardening lessons, science camps and outdoor adventures! 
 
New York Botanical Gardens
 
 

 
The Young KingSeedfolks Interested in joining us next season? Learn more about The Young King and Seedfolks here!
Posted by Beth Henderson
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