Northwestern theatre artists help kids cope with pandemic life creatively

Northwestern theatre artists help kids cope with pandemic life creatively
Photo credit WBBM/ Facebook LIve

EVANSTON, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Some creative people in the Chicago area are trying to make the pandemic a bit easier for kids.

Starting Saturday, a diverse cast of Northwestern University students and alumni will begin presenting Imagine U episodes created for “Saturday Morning Live! at The National Theatre.”

Northwestern said the episodes feature stories, songs, movement and crafts created to help families cope creatively with the challenges of life during the pandemic.

“We are excited to offer the gift of story to our families in this most challenging of times, when we need imagination and wonder to be stimulated,” said Imagine U founder Lynn Kelso, adding families need good online content now more than ever.

The episodes are commissioned by the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., in celebration of the 40th anniversary of its flagship program for young audiences.

“The programs are designed to give children and even adults strategies on how to cope. We aim to create substantive, meaningful programing that will entertain and soothe our audiences,” said David Kitto, the National Theatre’s executive director.

The episodes will appear on the National Theatre D.C. Facebook Page and afterward can be viewed on-demand on the National Theatre’s YouTube Channel. Check out the episode list with descriptions below.

Jan. 16: “Life Now: The Book of How”
Host Alvin and his favorite four storytellers discover that change can be good and together they figure out ways to be better listeners. In this episode children will learn lots of things -- from crazy dance moves, to how to make a paper craft -- and even what to do if your hat has a hole in it! Special guests include essential workers and Spike, Alvin’s best furry friend.

Jan. 30: “Life Now: Fun with Feelings”
Take a ride with the storytellers as they help Alvin understand strong feelings. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with lots of feelings, so together they discover the importance of listening to yourself and taking time to feel strong. In this episode, learn how to channel thoughts into a peaceful new craft and see how a quick chat with friends can remind you that you’re not alone in your feelings. Special guests include a lonely gray bird and Leo the Lion who talks to a friend about navigating big feelings.

Feb. 13: “Life Now: What’s Your Story”
Join Alvin and the storytellers as they explore different types of stories. Children will see stories in family dances, cooking special dishes with grandmothers, and remembering birthday celebrations. They will also take a journey with a beloved hat and learn how to build a blank book ready to fill with new stories. Special guest storyteller E. Patrick Johnson will share why it’s important to lead your life with joy.