Local children will see a storybook about St. Peter’s Fiesta come to life on stage at the launch of Gloucester Stage Company’s Playtime Stories summer program.
This Saturday, June 29, at 10 a.m., Playtime Stories presents Laura M. Alberghini Ventimiglia’s book “Nonna, What is St. Peter’s Fiesta?” at the Gloucester theater to celebrate the annual event.
“Playtime Stories offers young children the unique opportunity to experience the fun and magic of live theater as they watch their favorite books come to life onstage,” said Heidi Dallin, the theater’s Youth Acting Workshop director .
The Playtime Stories Company, a student acting company from the theater’s Youth Acting Workshops, will read and perform both Ventimiglia’s book and the popular Tomie dePaola book “Strega Nona.”
Following the performance, the children will be invited to join the Playtime Stories Company in activities and crafts relating to the story, such as making fish magnets. One activity will be a toy-size seine boat making project followed by a seine boat race.
Ventimiglia, the special guest, will sign copies of her book, which will be available for sale.
“We are honored to have Laura at this Playtime Stories special event to celebrate Fiesta for the second year in a row. She is an inspiration to our audiences and the young performers,” said Dallin. “Last year’s Fiesta Playtime Stories was standing room only —the biggest audience we have had in Playtime Stores history. The actors and I could not wait to bring Laura’s story back this year.”
Ventimiglia’s book is now a Playtime Stories tradition.
Each Saturday, from June 29 through Aug. 17, the Playtime Stories Company and guest narrators perform a children’s story against the backdrop of the story’s illustrations. Related activities will follow the child-friendly stage performance.
“We have had a great response to the Playtime Stories program over the past four summers,” said Dallin. “It is a terrific way for the Youth Acting Workshop students to reach out to younger audiences to spark their excitement in live performance. Many of the veteran students in the Playtime Stories Company have been involved in the program since they were 5 years old and now they will inspire the next generation of students.”
The program explores stories ranging from classic fairy tales to new stories to works by local authors.
The Playtime Stories season continues with these programs: July 13, Magic 101 with “The Magic Tree House: Stage Fright on a Summer Night” and “The Magic School Bus: Inside a Beehive”; July 20, A Delightful Day of Dr. Seuss with “The Lorax” and “Horton Hears a Who”; July 27, Mystery Mayhem with “Scooby-Doo” and “Where’s Mommy?”; Aug. 3, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Read about them with “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Pegasus, the Flying Horse”; Aug. 10, Bonjour: Adventures in France with “Madeline” and “The Little Prince”; and Aug. 17, Summer Finale with Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “The Very Quiet Cricket,” and Judith Viorist’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”