Festival 56 theater for young audiences to continue in 2021


PRINCETON - Festival 56 in Princeton has received a grant from the Arts of Starved Rock Country Fund in support of “Polkadots,” a theater for young audiences production that was originally planned for the Festival’s 2020 summer season. The grant provides financial support for securing the rights to produce the play.

Since this year’s season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Festival looks forward to bringing “Polkadots” to children and adults early next summer when the Festival kicks off its 2021 season. 

Inspired by the events of The Little Rock 9, “Polkadots” serves as a history lesson for children, reminding them that individual differences make us awesome, not outcasts. As the first Polkadot in her school, Lily feels hopeless about being accepted until she meets Sky, a shy boy whose curiosity about her blooms into an unexpected pal-ship.

Since 2018, Festival 56 has included a theater for young audiences component in its season (A Year with Frog” and “Toad, Pinkalicious: The Musical”). Festival 56 board president Ron McCutchan explained, “Exposure to theater at a young age increases empathy - helping children to imagine the lives of others. It creates a stronger link to literature and reading. Both our previous shows were based on children’s books. And it makes theater and the arts relevant to their lives - in other words, Festival 56 is literally growing our audience. And hopefully, their parents might also purchase tickets later in the season for a night out!”

The Illinois Arts Council Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts are also providing support for Festival 56 to continue offering theater for young audiences in north-central Illinois.