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The Land of Nod Partners with Emerald City Theatre
Dec 17, 2012

Emerald Cith TheatreThe Land of Nod and Emerald City Theatre will collaborate on the design for Emerald City's Little Theatre, the nation's first theatre space for the very young. The Land of Nod and Emerald City Theatre will work together to heighten the engaging, kid-friendly, and safe environment in the new space. Emerald City will open The Little Theatre in spring 2013.

"As long time fans of Emerald City Theater, we were thrilled to learn of the theater for the very young and are honored to be a part of bringing this amazing concept to life," says Land of Nod Managing Director Michelle Kohanzo,. "Emerald City's mission and creativity are the perfect complement to The Land of Nod brand."

"As Chicago natives, it is important to The Land of Nod to take an active role in the community, specifically children within the Chicago community.  I am thrilled to support theater in the community.  It is so critical to foster the imagination of a child and this partnership does just that. " 

"I've been a long-time fan of The Land of Nod's furnishings," says Emerald City Theatre Executive Director Karen Cardarelli, "They invest a unique creativity in not just their furnishings, but also their store design and environments.  This along with their understanding of the needs of both grown-up and child makes them the perfect partner on our Little Theatre project."

The Land of Nod's participation in the Little Theatre project adds to other lead support by the MacArthur Foundation as well as Emerald City's own fundraising efforts in the Every Little Brick, Every Little Story campaign. Members of the community have been purchasing inscribed "bricks" that will make up a Yellow Brick Road on the floor of the Little Theatre's lobby. The space, at 2933 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago, is currently under renovation.

Emerald City's Little Theatre will serve audiences of children ages zero to five and their grownups, with 'no rules' theatrical experiences specifically designed to fit the developmental needs of these early learners. This new space will extend Emerald City's mission to inspire early learners through play throughout Chicago and help to extend the company's reach beyond its current annual reach of nearly 100,000. It will be the third performance home for Emerald City Theatre in addition to The Apollo Theatre in Lincoln Park and The Broadway Playhouse in the Water Tower. The Little Theatre will open in April 2013 with an original adaptation of The Teddy Bears' Picnic supported by the National Endowment of the Arts. 

About Theatre for the Very Young
Theatre for the very young has been popular in Denmark and Australia for a number of years.  More recently it has begun to be a part of regular season line-ups in some of the United States' larger professional children's theaters such as Children's Theatre (Minneapolis) and Imagination Stage (Washington D.C.).  "Our colleagues have shared with us the benefits they've observed in artistic programming for the very young," says Cardarelli.  "It develops creative thinkers, builds language and social emotional skills as well as supports child-grown up play which helps to build their bond." 

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, by Roberta Golikoff sites recent brain development research in order to break down how our children really learn.  She emphasizes the importance of playing more and memorizing less - "Learning is always more powerful and lasting when it occurs in context," the Golikoff concludes.

"Play is fun and important to young children's intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development. Through play, children learn problem-solving, interpersonal skills, communication, and other skills integral to success in school and life," says Sibyl Jacobson, President - MetLife Foundation.

In 2007 The Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics published an article by K.R. Ginsburg, "Play is an essential and critical part of all children's development. Play starts in the child's infancy and ideally, continues throughout his or her life. Play is how children learn to socialize, to think, to solve problems, to mature and most importantly, to have fun."

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