The most colorful place in the East Bay to enjoy children’s community theater is at Aesop’s Playhouse, Fairyland’s exciting main stage. From June through October, our talented cast brings stories from around the world to life—check the calendar for showtimes.
Fairyland has enabled young people to create live theatre for over 50 years. In 1956, we introduced Fairyland Personalities. In this theatre program, children ages 8 to 10 portray characters from folklore and children’s literature in stage productions, at community events, and during visits to senior centers and schools. Auditions for our Children’s Theatre program are held once a year in January. Find out about the audition process.
Aesop’s Playhouse accommodates over 200 people in festival seating and was funded entirely by Oakland’s Measure DD, a $198.25 million bond measure passed by voters in 2002. Oakland-based Ace Architects designed the structure; Scientific Art Studio of Richmond created the fanciful sculptures of Aesop and his characters.
In addition to our own children’s theater, our playhouse has hosted the Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Oakland School for the Arts, the Pacific Boychoir, the Oakland Ballet Company, popular characters from KQED, and a host of young performers from local schools and community arts groups.
On weekends from June through October, Aesop’s Playhouse presents three plays in rotation—one each weekend. These original productions are written and directed by our Children’s Theatre director and feature our lively Children’s Theatre troupe. Professional designers and other members of the Bay Area theater community create our costumes, sets, and props, with added help from parents, staff, and volunteers.
“Rip van Winkle”
Adapted from the story by Washington Irving by Doyle Ott
Young Rip tries to do his chores and do what he should, but he really likes to relax, play, and go on adventures with his dog. But when he meets a bunch of mischievous spirits in the mountains and joins their game, he gets more than he bargained for and falls asleep for 20 years. When he finally finds his way home, will any of his old friends even recognize him? Washington Irving’s classic American fairytale comes to life in a new adaptation featuring songs from the revolutionary war era in which the story takes place, as well as new music, puppets, and at least one long white beard.
Adapted by Tony Jonick
Mousedeer is tricky. She tricks her friends out of their cake, the farmers out of their vegetables, and crocodiles into letting her cross the river on their back. When a monster wants to eat her friends, it will take all of her tricks to help them escape in this Indonesian story adapted to the stage with shadow puppets, songs, and of course Fairyland’s fabulous young performers.
“The Tortoise who Flew”
Adapted by Doyle Ott
Tortoise may be slow, but he’s very, very smart. When he hears birds are throwing a party in the sky, he’s determined to join them. All he needs to do is to figure out how to fly. And maybe, just maybe, how to land. Versions of the story of the tortoise who flew are found all over the world, from Africa to India to Europe to Japan, and now the story flies to Aesop’s Playhouse at Fairyland where a talented cast of young performers tell it with song and dance.