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Wirtz Center’s ‘Imagine U Storytime’ concludes fall season

Students, faculty share more online performances

EVANSTON, Ill., -- The Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts’ “Imagine U Storytime” series will finish out the fall season with engaging shows for young audiences from Nov. 22 to Dec. 13.

Performances will include a retelling of traditional Buddhist lore in “The Jataka Tales,” as well as the story of a father’s love for his daughter in “To the Moon and Back.” “90º North,” an original student piece, takes the audience on a journey that considers how rising temperatures affect a magical ice world. The season will end with a reprise of past Storytime musical episodes, with pieces from "Frozen," "Knuffle Bunny" and "James and the Giant Peach.”

The weekly video series airs weekly on the Wirtz Center YouTube channel. New videos are posted at 6 p.m. Sundays and remain online for streaming.

“Imagine U Storytime” began in April 2020 as a way to connect community members through the arts during the global pandemic. To date, Imagine U Storytime has garnered more than 15,000 views.

According to Rives Collins, department chair of theatre at Northwestern’s School of Communication, the series aims to provide engaging content for families to enjoy together at home, as well as highlight the talented students, faculty and alumni in the theater for young audiences training program.

“It has been remarkable to see what our story artists have created to delight young audiences,” said Lynn Kelso, Imagine U founder and creative mentor. “We are very excited to return to continue to share these artistic gifts with our families in these challenging times.”

Upcoming “Imagine U Storytime” programs include: 

"The Jataka Tales"
Sunday, Nov. 22, 6 p.m. CST

Settle down and take a long, deep breath as we travel back in time to ancient India, when towering demons ran amok and tortoises flew in the air. Inspired by “The Anger-Eating Demon” and “The Talkative Tortoise,” Darek Chu (’22) adapted stories from the Jataka tales, fables and anecdotes from the canon of Buddhist literature. The tales depict various incarnations of the being who would become the Buddha and are dated between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D.

"To the Moon and Back"
Sunday, Nov. 29, 6 p.m. CST

In this story, written by Northwestern theatre professor David Catlin, an inventive and intrepid father endeavors to the moon and stars to bring light to the heaviness in his daughter’s heart. The story is performed by Catlin and Julia Hogan Laurenson (’22).

"90º North"
Sunday, Dec. 6, 6 p.m. CST

Follow an ice creature as it discovers how rising temperatures have altered the landscape of a wonderful world made entirely of ice. Created by Ana Díaz Barriga, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama candidate and Daphne Agosin (’22), 90° North invites us to appreciate the beauty of our world and reflect on the different ways in which we can hold and care for all that exists under our sun. 

“Imagine U Storytime Music Encore”
Sunday, Dec. 13, 6 p.m. CST

Join us as we journey back through some of our favorite musical episodes from past Storytime programs, featuring songs from "Frozen," "Knuffle Bunny" and "James and the Giant Peach," among others. We’re spreading some holiday cheer through music in our last episode of the season. 

"Imagine U Storytime" will return in January.