We Tell Stories
is a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization.
5740 York Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Board of Directors
Carl Weintraub, Chairman
William Turner, President
Gilbert Pacheco, Secretary
Dennis Carter, Treasurer
We Tell Stories
is grateful for the support from
the following organizations:
Employees Community Fund of Boeing
Culver City Performing Arts Grant Program Fund with support from Sony
City of Los Angeles, Department
of Cultural Affairs
City National Bank
Employees Community Fund of Boeing
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Ralph Parsons Foundation
Stern Memorial Trust
Arts for All
Children’s Creative Project
Community Arts Resources (CARS)
County MTA—Go Metro
Los Angeles Music Center
Los Angeles County Museum of
Los Angeles Unified School
District, Arts Education Branch
North Figueroa Association
Performing Arts Center
Performances to Grow
Festival Plaza de la Raza
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood
North Figueroa Association
Ed P. Reyes, District 1
Jose Huizar, District 14
|The Little Theatre Company That Could
We Tell Stories is like The Little
Engine That Could. The donations are still coming in, and support has
been received from all parts of the state...the country...and the world.
With your continued support, we
will continue to tell our stories!
Visit our donor page,
acknowledging the support:
"I think I
can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the
great heavy train...It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went
on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying,
"I thought I
could, I thought I could."
The Little Engine That Could is a children's story by Watty Piper
that was published in the United States in 1930. The book is used to teach
children the value of optimism and hard work. Some would contend that the
book is a metaphor for the American Dream. Thank you
for believing in our dream!
Join us for Aesop's Fables at the
Lewis Family Playhouse!
Wednesday, March 18 at 10
Lewis Family Playhouse
12505 Cultural Center Drive
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739
Tickets are $9.50 and can be purchased online at:
Join us for Japanese Folktales at The Getty Family
Saturday, March, 28 at 11 am
and 2:15 pm
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Performances are FREE!
These performances are
part of The Getty Center’s Family Festival. The day’s program
includes art-making workshops, dance, taiko drumming, craft demonstrations,
For more information,
WTS Actress Cadry Nelson
Tells Us A Story
WTS Artists Cadry
Nelson, left, with Gerald James and Candy Danzig
I’ve been a touring
children’s theatre artist with We Tell Stories for a decade.
I’ve had an opportunity to go into so many schools, big ones and small
ones. I’ve been into schools with airport style metal detectors, and
I’ve been into schools with attached theatres that were grander than
any of the theatres at the university I attended. I’ve been into
schools whose students had never before seen a play. I’ve had
principals tell me that their students hadn’t even been to the ocean,
because the parents in the area were just too poor for outings.
I’ve been amazed by the creativity and willingness of children
to reach the bar set for them.
Last fall I was performing one early morning at a small
school in East Los Angeles. The school was up a winding hill and stuck in
the middle of a poor surrounding neighborhood. I checked in at the office
and then found my way to the auditorium, which was also a classroom for a
teacher. The auditorium consisted of a tiny stage, some folding
chairs, and a couple of mats near the stage. Their space was so limited, all
space had to be utilized. The off-stage space was being used as an office on
one side and a storage room on the other.
The teacher who taught in the space greeted us. One of
my fellow actors asked where she could buy a soft drink, perhaps in the
teacher’s lounge. The teacher told her, “We’re a poor
school. We don’t have a soda machine. We don’t even have a true
cafeteria. The meals for our students are brought into us
The students started filing into the auditorium, and a group of rambunctious
boys sat on the mats at the front of the stage. The boys were in third
grade, but were trying to appear older, more mature. One boy had a mohawk,
which was falling to the side of his face.
“Hey,” the boys asked me, “what are you
doing here today?”
“We’re going to be telling three stories,”
They noticed the props and costumes
surrounding our trunk in the center of the stage.
“Do you have any guns in the show?”
they chimed in. “We like guns.”
“Do you have any fights in these stories?”
one of the boys piped in.
“No, we don’t have any guns in the show or
I felt uncomfortable with their questioning. I knew the boys were only being
eager and curious, but it felt strange and inappropriate to have third
graders asking me about guns. I moved away from them and started the show.
We have volunteers come up onstage during the show. Instead of raising a
hand to volunteer, the kids have to do a task to come onstage. They need to
show that they’re really listening, and then when a child looks me
right in the eye, unabashed and unafraid, I know that he or she really wants
to come onstage and is committed to performing.
For this particular story that day I needed a town crier. I told the
audience to sit up straight in their chairs, tall and proud. The boy with
the mohawk sat up straight and tall on the mat. He clasped his hands, one
into another, and looked me straight in the eye. I thought about him
asking about guns, and I thought he might be a live wire on stage. I thought
it might be a bad idea to bring him up for fear he’d do or say
something inappropriate. I walked on looking at other kids to pick. Then he
caught my eye again. He was looking at me so intently. He needed to come up.
I turned to him and asked if he’d like to come up onstage and help me
tell the story.
“Yes!” he said in a
I took him offstage to teach him his part. First, he played the part of a
scholar. He seemed nervous at first, but also like he was gaining
momentum. Then he played the part of a metal smith. He was supposed to make
himself look big and strong. He had to bend a metal bar. I handed the bar to
him offstage, and he pretended it was a gun.
“Hold it like this,”
I showed him, grasping the bar in two hands.
In front of his classmates and the rest of the school, he bent the bar, made
out of cloth and wire, with his hands, and they laughed and cheered.
He said his lines with his enthusiasm, and when he played the town crier at
the end of the story, he was improvising and having a wonderful time. He
took a bow, and everyone applauded.
After the show was done and the curtains
were closed, he lifted the curtains up from underneath and asked,
“Hey, when are you coming
back? That was so much fun!”
It is for students like these that especially need We
Tell Stories, and it is students like these who won’t have access to
the arts if the funding disappears. Kids now more than ever need
validation, encouragement, and inspiration.
They need to be shown there are peaceful and creative
ways they can express their feelings, emotions, and concerns. They need to
know there are ways to have fun and play that don’t involve violence.
If we don’t show them alternatives, who will? If we
don’t reach them now, then when will we?
Bring the little ones to Pint-Sized
Plays at the
Julian Dixon Library!
Join us for
15 at 11 am!
Culver City Julian Dixon
4975 Overland Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
Performance is FREE!
This performance, which is part of
our year-long residency, will commemorate National Library Week. Designed
especially for 3-5 year olds, this 30-minute performance contains 2
delightful stories with plenty of audience participation.
For a complete schedule of events,
visit “The Arts Are Alive in Culver City” at www.culvercity.org/culture.asp<
/a>. Performances are made possible in
part by a grant from the City of Culver City Performing Arts Grant Program
Fund with support from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Culver City Julian Dixon
Library is part of the County of Los Angeles Public
WTS can perform at your school, library,
or special event.
Some discounts available!
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