The Stages Festival began 16 years ago as a one-week program for young people and their families (originally called Family Week at the Theatre), but the program was so popular, and member theatres kept offering new events for people of all ages, that the Theatre Alliance – with the help of their funding partners – expanded it beyond the original week. The organization and its member theatres now provide a full month of performances, workshops and programs for theatre lovers in all the stages of their lives.
Events are held at member theatres, and partner performing arts centers, but also in local libraries, schools, hospitals and senior centers.
Special events and bonuses
· For the first time, the Alliance and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) are working together to create a “festival-
· Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is sponsoring events in Burlington and Ocean counties, and their ‘Blue to You’ van will be stopping at several locations to help Medicare Advantage customers and Medicare-eligible customers get better access to one-on-one care and information before going to see one of the free Stages Festival events.
· Pushcart Players and Paper Mill Playhouse are offering one of their popular Sensory-Friendly performances of Let Freedom Ring for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.
· For the sixth year in a row, the Theatre Alliance is sponsoring a private event for service men and women and their families on McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County.
· Springpoint Senior Living Foundation has made additional events possible for seniors at several of their communities state-wide, while also sponsoring an Audio Described performance for patrons with vision loss, and Sign Language Interpreted performance.
Performances aren't the only part of the program; classes and workshops have always been a popular aspect The Stages Festival and this year over 20 offerings give theatre lovers a chance to participate in a variety of workshops under the guidance of professional artists ... a great way to unleash creativity.
Examples of workshops from north to south include: The Growing Stage (Morris County) will be offering a theatre dance workshop for ages 10 and up; Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre (Essex county) – is offering an All-in-One theatre workshop for middle and high school students; East Lynne Theater Company (Cape May county) – is offering a performance juggling class for all ages. Other member theatres will be offering acting workshops, pre- and post- show discussions, and more for all ages.
Older children and adults will appreciate the dynamic programming provided by some of the most exciting companies in the region, while younger children will delight in the experience of seeing many familiar fairy tales and fables enacted in a live format.
The New Jersey Theatre Alliance is committed to making all of its programs and services fully accessible to the public. All venues participating in The Stages Festival are wheelchair accessible. Contact the venue directly for details regarding physical access (e.g. parking, wheelchair seating, rest-room access). Any attendees requiring assisted services such as sign language interpretation or assisted listening may contact the New Jersey Theatre Alliance at 973-731-6582 x15 at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event. The Alliance will work with the venue to meet accessibility needs.
The following accessible performances are being offered by Pushcart Players during The Stages Festival.
An Audio Described performance of Peter and the Wolf will take place at the Shea Center for the Performing Arts at William Patterson University in Wayne on Saturday, March 2 at 2:00pm.
A Sign Language Interpreted performance of Peter and the Wolf will take place at the Bickford Theatre, Morristown at 1:30pm on Saturday, March 16. .
The highlights listed here are only a sampling of the diversity of this years’ schedule of events, and reservations are necessary for most of them. For an up-to-the-minute schedule of The Stages Festival, please visit the website at www.stagesfestival.org
Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation and audience development. The Alliance provides member theatres and arts patrons a wide range of supportive services and programs, assists member theatres in their growth and development – as well as in the promotion of their programs – helping them reach their full potential. For arts patrons, the Alliance provides a variety of services to enhance their theatre-going experience.
The Stages Festival is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional program sponsors are Bank of America and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.
Events in Burlington and Ocean County are made possible by the generous support of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.
Additional program support has been provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Hidden Ponds Foundation, The HMS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, The F. M. Kirby Foundation, Prudential Foundation and Springpoint Senior Living Foundation and The Victoria Foundation.