Where The Wild Things Are: Fun and Learning to the Max

Education and Outreach

Take a signature production of “Where The Wild Things Are” in March, add some mask making, and you have fun and learning in an interactive environment made for pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade students. Not left out of the fun were teachers, who had their own workshops in mask making in February.

Based on the award-winning book by Maurice Sendak, this guided play experience, produced by Presentation House Theatre of British Columbia, directed by Kim Selody and adapted for the stage by Carol Heleas of TAG Theatre, Glasgow, featured Linda A. Carson and Raes Calvert.

The production is touring the United States (January through June), and, by the end of the season, will have completed more than 130 performances. In total, the play will have been seen by more than 18,000 children and adults. At The Smith Center, approximately 1,500 students from 14 schools attended the special matinees.

The students’ participating teachers learned about a variety of mask making techniques from Kent Caldwell, visual artist and Cirque du Soleil acrobat, so that they could teach these techniques in their classes and create masks with their students who attended.

“Where The Wild Things Are” is the story of a young boy named Max who dresses up in a wolf costume. Needless to say, a wolf in Max’s clothing is not the best behaved member of the household. Havoc ensues, ensuring that Max is sent to bed without his supper.

While in his bedroom, his imagination soars and Max is transported to a jungle environment, encountering the “Wild Things.” Max, the resourceful kid, becomes king of the “Wild Things.” He enjoys his brief reign, but decides to return home. Good thing he does: a hot supper is awaiting him!

This delightful guided play doesn’t mask reality so much as it provides entertainment that kids can wolf down. Wild, isn’t it?