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Collaborating with Wheelock Family Theatre

12 February 2015

Wheelock Family Theatre

As we broaden our visibility and extend our reach, we open up opportunities to collaborate with like-minded organizations. Wheelock Family Theater is one such organization that shares our vision for promoting global learning opportunities. Known for their engaging intergenerational and multicultural productions, Wheelock's latest production, Pinocchio, is an original adaptation of the popular children's story that draws from kabuki, Noh, bunraku puppetry, and other performing arts of Japan. In speaking with the Boston Globe recently, Wheelock's producer and co-artistic director Wendy Lement discussed the inspiration behind the adaptation of this classic story: "The idea of setting it in a non-Western culture has to do very much with the mission of the theatre — of nontraditional casting, but also exposing the audience to theater of different cultures."

Through a serendipitous conversation last fall, we learned that Wheelock was looking for a way to extend the learning beyond the performance, and we offered to help. Given the popularity of our online resource guides, we recommended the creation of an interactive digital toolkit that would promote further exploration of the Japanese and intercultural elements of the play. "We were excited to learn that Wheelock Family Theatre was interested in exploring global themes, perspectives, and forms of storytelling in some of its work," says Primary Source Program Director Josh Cracraft. "We couldn't pass up the opportunity to lend a hand, especially given our experience in helping others learn about Japan and East Asia."

PinocchioAccessible from all technical devices, the online resources offer theatergoers the opportunity to learn more about the traditional and contemporary Japanese cultural elements they are seeing onstage. "The toolkit that Primary Source developed to support Pinocchio is the first of its kind built specifically to support a Wheelock Family Theatre production," says Wheelock Family Theatre's Marketing Director Charles Baldwin, "and a great way to encourage audiences to learn more about Japanese mythological, musical, and storytelling traditions."

Though this wonderful production ended in February, this Primary Source toolkit remains available to the public to allow families and educators to continue browsing these fun multimedia resources.

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Watertown, MA 02472
(617) 923-9933

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