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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.


The New Victory Theater is dedicated to creating opportunities for you and your family to play together. We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your awe and understanding of the performing arts by participating in our celebrated public engagement programs with your family. With every visit to the theater, join in the fun of exploring the art forms presented on our stage. Our lobbies aren't just a place to wait for the show to start–they're an important part of your family's trip to the New Vic.

As the Assistant Director of Education/Public Engagement I oversee and create age-appropriate content specifically focused on engaging families in the art forms and themes of the show. I love being able to watch the shows and collaboratively create with our teaching artists and staff, activities that families may want to play with and explore before or after a performance. Every Monday morning after a weekend of shows I eagerly open the post-show surveys to see if anyone has mentioned the public engagement events. In December we received a glowing note in the post-show survey about the Arts Express before Mother Africa from Joanna. We reached out asking if she would write a more detailed account of her experience with her two kids. I hope you enjoy it and that you join us in the lobby for a pre/post show arts express!


See you at the theater,
Renata Melillo–Townsend
Assistant Director of Education/Public Engagement


Joanna's Daughter
This winter, before the Mother Africa show, my family and I escaped the cold and arrived at the New Victory as the doors opened. We grabbed a free locker and stored our coats and bags and my seven-year-old stowed her unfashionable rain boots, swapping them out for more fashionable glittery slippers. Now the family is unencumbered and she feels properly adorned. We're free to enjoy the transformed downstairs lobby. This magical space of friendly people and activities beckons the family as soon as we enter into its orbit. 

This is just the beginning of a New Victory Arts Express event and there is something for everyone. For the visual artist, grab a marker, design your own quilt square and pin it up or take it home. For the musician, come make some beats with the drums. For the athlete, you can hula hoop your heart out or, you can hit the juggling station, lay on your back, stick your feet in the air and try to juggle a pillow with your feet. Do you have a willing adult whose arm you can twist? Get them to crawl on all fours on some cushioned mats as the kid tries to balance on your back (with a New Victory staff member aiding and spotting). While each New Victory Arts Express event is different, there's always an enticing mix of activities that appeal to many different learning styles and comfort zones. 

Different kids and adults, staff members and visitors were all exploring and experimenting, dipping a big toe into the waters of what we were about to see on stage with Mother Africa. My extremely intellectual assessment was: "This is great! The kids are getting their wiggles out." I have to confess, the awesome and enthusiastic staff member with whom I had been conversing, looked a bit crestfallen. All this effort to imagine an engaging arts workshop, and it's about… wiggles? However, there is something to be said for getting your wiggles out right before a show.

Mother Africa DecorationsArriving at a theater often means you only watch others get to move and sing and dance–that's just unbearable for some kids–mine included. And that said, these events really do encourage so much more than just wiggles. Audience members get to meet and interact with other audience and staff members. Kids get invited to play and stretch their imaginations with music, art, stories and dance. I don't have to start my night out with my family with an endless stream of, "Please be quiet, no you can't eat, please be still." Instead, I get to say, "Let's play, imagine and create!"

Of course I want my kids to appreciate watching art, but I also want them to have a toehold on making, creating and doing. We don't always have the time or money to allow the kids to do all the creative exploration we would like. However, I'm glad they get that opportunity with The New Victory Theater. 


 
New Victory Thumb Learn to juggle at the Pre-Show Activities for Water on Mars! Get your tickets today.
Posted by Beth Henderson
There's juggling and then there's THIS. In the New Vic's first ever all-juggling show, Wes, Tony and Patrik take to the stage to perform jaw dropping, giggle inducing, eye popping stunts that you have to see to believe. We had a chance to ask them a few questions about their juggling journey!
 

 

Water on Mars From left to right: Patrik, Tony and Wes
When did you first start juggling?

We all started juggling very young. At the ages 5, 7 and 8. It's never too early, though. Some jugglers start at age 3!

What is the strangest thing you've ever juggled? 

The strangest thing we have juggled would have to be ice cream cones or cactuses. You have to flip them in a weird way so you don't get jabbed by the cactus!

Tell us more about the name Water on Mars. What does it mean?

Water on Mars, to us, represents the idea of an exciting discovery! When we juggle, we're constantly researching new tricks and new ways of juggling. Remember the wonder mankind felt when water on Mars was discovered? We want to have that kind of amazement fill every aspect of our juggling. 

Do you have any advice for kids who want to start juggling?

Talent is such a small part of being a good juggler. If you want to be a juggler, just start practicing and never stop. YouTube has thousands of great tutorials to get you started! 

What sets your show apart from other juggling acts?

Our show is different because we took three completely different and unique jugglers and combined all of our skills, ideas and brainpower to come up with something that brings out the best in us. 

How did you guys first meet?

We all come from very different backgrounds. Tony studied musical theater and dance; Patrik studied acrobatics and circus; and Wes learned juggling from his father, who was also a juggler. We met at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden.

What is the best part of being a professional juggler?

We get to juggle toilet paper for all kinds of people all over the world! 

How high can you juggle?

We cannot toss or juggle anything as high as Mars... but we're working on it.

What do you hope kids and families will take away from Water on Mars?

Our goal is to push the boundaries of the art form and your understanding of what it means to juggle. We hope this show sparks a sense of exploration of curiosity to invent something new!
 

Wes Peden (USA) won a Bronze Medal at the 33rd Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain. He has performed in 18 different countries, including shows for the King and Queen of Sweden on three separate occasions. Wes graduated from the University of Dance and Circus with a degree in juggling and lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tony Pezzo (USA) is one of the most creative minds ever to pick up juggling props. With his fingers on the pulse of youth culture and his eyes on the prize he calmly turns the world upside down with his mind-bending catches and physics-breaking throws. As an American, Tony subscribes to the idea that no matter how much tap dance you performed as a child you can still move to Sweden and make the cover of Vogue for juggling.

Patrik Elmnert (Sweden) was born in Uppsala, Sweden in 1989. He started performing at the age of nine, dressed in a tailcoat and a glitter top hat. Patrik has spent most of his time this past decade researching and specializing in ring and club juggling. Since his graduation from the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, Sweden, he has performed on five of the seven continents on this planet. 
 
 
New Victory Thumb Drop everything and come to see Water on Mars! Get your tickets today.
Posted by Beth Henderson
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