Three Little Rock arts organizations announced as NEA grant recipients

Three Little Rock organizations were announced today as recipients of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.  They are: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Little Rock, and the Oxford American magazine.

Each year, more than 4,500 communities large and small throughout the United States benefit from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants to nonprofits. For the NEA’s first of two major grant announcements of fiscal year 2019, more than $25 million in grants across all artistic disciplines will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These grants are for specific projects and range from performances and exhibitions, to healing arts and arts education programs, to festivals and artist residencies.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc.
$10,000
Challenge America
To support concert performances and related outreach activities.

Chamber Music Society of Little Rock
$10,000
Challenge America
To support a series of chamber music performances and related educational programming.

Oxford American Literary Project
$20,000
Art Works — Literature
To support publication and promotion of the magazine.

First documented theatrical performance in Little Rock on January 8, 1835

On January 8, 1835, the Little Rock Town Council passed an ordinance granting the Society of Thalians a one year franchise to conduct performances in Little Rock.

That same day, the Thalians performed She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith’s 1773 comedy.

The following week, on January 17, they performed the comedy Ways and Means (by George Colman, Jr.) and David Garrick’s farce The Lying Valet.

The cost of the license to perform was $10 for the year. That would be the equivalent of $287 today. The ordinance also instructed the Town Constable to attend, by himself or a deputy, all theatrical performances to keep and preserve order.

There may well have been theatrical troupes come through Little Rock prior to January 1835, but records do not exist to any performances they may have given.  The performances by the Thalians are the first documented theatrical productions in Little Rock.

On Twelfth Night – a look ahead to 2020 Arkansas Shakespeare Theater’s lineup

Today is Twelfth Night. Since it is also the title of one of Shakespeare’s most-produced plays, it seems a good chance to preview the 2020 Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre season.

While they HAVE produced Twelfth Night, it is not part of the 2020 season.

The lineup DOES include: As You Like It, Into the Woods (based on the writings of my relatives the Brothers Grimm), as well as The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

Performances will take place on the UCA campus, both in Reynolds Performance Hall and outdoors on the lawn of McAlister Hall.

As she prepares for her ninth year as producing artistic director of AST, Rebekah Scallet said she wanted an exciting repertory season that would capture audiences’ imaginations and challenge them to think about their lives. She chose the three shows in the 2020 season based around the theme “Sweet are the uses of adversity,” a line from “As You Like It.”

Actors, directors, designers and crew members will arrive in Conway in early May 2020 to begin the process of creating the three shows in AST’s 14th season.

“We’ll open the season with ‘The Complete Works’ outdoors on the beautiful lawn of McAlister Hall. Our outdoor venue draws huge crowds, and our audiences look forward to the show and the entire experience of Shakespeare under the stars. We hope that theatre-goers in Arkansas and around the region will recognize AST for its dedication to the cultural and artistic growth that is currently underway in our state,” said Marotte.

Performance dates will be announced in coming weeks.

Mary Ruth Marotte is the Executive Director and Rebekah Scallet is the Producing Artistic Director.

Pay What You Can Weekend as Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre on Tour presents two shows in Riverdale

A Christmas CarolThe Children’s Theatre on Tour is stopping by the Arkansas Arts Center’s Riverdale location for a weekend of Pay What You Can performances December 20–22.

Children’s Theatre on Tour will hold four performances of A Christmas Carol throughout the weekend and one performance of Wynken, Blynken and Nod: A Play for the Very Young. While the Arts Center’s MacArthur Park building undergoes a transformational renovation, the Children’s Theatre has expanded its touring program, which will feature four shows throughout the 2019–2020 season.  

A Christmas Carol will be performed at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 20, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 21, and 2 p.m. on Sunday December 22. Clever, comedic, and kid-friendly, A Christmas Carol breathes new life into Dickens’ heart-warming classic. Schooled by a team of magical Christmas Eve visitors, Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserable of all misers, rediscovers the true spirit of the season—one of love, generosity, and family. With these touchstones of happiness revived in him, he wakes Christmas morning to find himself “light as a feather, happy as an angel, and merry as a schoolboy!” There will be a pre-show holiday party at 5:30 p.m. on December 20 with art activities, a hot chocolate bar, cupcakes, shopping and more. The holiday party is free for Friday evening ticket holders.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod: A Play for the Very YoungWynken, Blynken and Nod: A Play for the Very Young will be performed at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, December 21. Toddlers and preschoolers will delight in the enchanting and whimsical journey of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod as they sail away one magical night and meet the mystical Moon! Inspired by Eugene Field’s poem, this interactive musical for early-childhood audiences explores the fantasy world of dreams. When the Moon asks, “where are you going, and what do you wish?” the night sky becomes the sea and stars become fish as audience members see, touch, and participate throughout the play.

Pay What You Can tickets can be purchased by phone at 501-372-4000 or in person at the Arkansas Arts Center’s Riverdale location (2510 Cantrell Road). Ticket desk hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon – 5 p.m. Sunday.

A Christmas Carol
Friday, December 20, 7 p.m. | Saturday, December 21, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. | Sunday December 22, 2 p.m.
Clever, comedic, and kid-friendly, this holiday show breathes new life into Dickens’ heart-warming classic. Schooled by a team of magical Christmas Eve visitors, Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserable of all misers, rediscovers the true spirit of the season—one of love, generosity, and family. With these touchstones of happiness revived in him, he wakes Christmas morning to find himself “light as a feather, happy as an angel, and merry as a schoolboy!”

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod: A Play for the Very Young
Saturday December 21, 10:15 a.m.
Toddlers and preschoolers will delight in the enchanting and whimsical journey of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod as they sail away one magical night and meet the mystical Moon! Inspired by Eugene Field’s poem, this interactive musical for early-childhood audiences explores the fantasy world of dreams. When the Moon asks, “where are you going, and what do you wish?” the night sky becomes the sea and stars become fish as audience members see, touch, and participate throughout the play. Join Wynken, Blynken, Nod, and the Moon on this 45-minute multi-sensory adventure for the very young.