Storytelling is fundamental to human nature.
Through storytelling, we deepen the connections that find commonality through victories and hardships that the characters endure.
Storytelling is at the core of what we do at Children’s Fairyland. We recently examined the intention behind storytelling and found that we needed to make progress in the areas of representation and diversity. The stories told in the park — puppet shows, theatre, performances, and story book boxes — need to reflect the community we serve. In order to accomplish that, we baked that commitment into our retooled mission and vision. To help us transform storytelling at Fairyland we made connections with local members in the community to create a holistic approach to inviting new stories into the park that are informed by culturally responsive pedagogies.
Over the last two years we have built a team of Stories Committee volunteers consisting of professionals in early childhood education, children’s librarians, theatre directors, and our own Education and Community Engagement staff. Fairyland is fortunate to work with a diverse group of passionate community members who help with story selections presented in the Puppet and Children’s Theatres. The goal is to ensure all children feel included and welcome when they visit Fairyland by seeing and relating to the stories being told in the park. By doing so we hope to build a stronger learning community at Fairyland.
Through research, conversations with one another combined with the expertise that each member brings, the committee recommends thoughtful, relevant stories that reflect our place and time. The committee begins the selection process with the theme, in which all stories, from classic fairytale to folklore to contemporary literature have a connection to.
The stories in 2023 shared at Fairyland all have a strong relationship to ‘belonging’. This theme evolved from our dialogue around ‘community’ shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic started, which deeply impacted children’s social lives, developmental achievements and well-being. Learning in isolation and having to give up play time with their peers are not natural human behaviors. Because we are still coping from and adapting to these changes, the committee felt compelled to find stories that will help our young audience search for a sense of belonging. These stories help us appreciate friendship and love, feel welcomed and seen, and identify with places that we feel a deep sense of connection toward.
2023 Stories Committee Members
Vicky Chen: Staff, Senior Director of Education and Community Engagement
Corinna Rezzelle: Staff, Theatre Programs Manager
Michaela Ellis: Staff, Education and Curriculum Manager
Angela Moffett: Staff, Fairyland Librarian
Randal Metz: Fairyland Master Puppeteer
Jessica Martin: Staff, Senior Director of Events
Nashwa Eman: Fairyland Board member / School Counselor / Social Worker
Haitham Mohamed: Arabic Language and Culture Professor
Isa S. Chu: Nonprofit Performing Arts Manager
Paola Bea: Early Childhood Educator
Sandy Brumbaum: Literacy Educator / Academic Coach
Nicole Powell: Children's Librarian
Channing Kennedy: Storytime Reader / Author
Ana-Elba Pavon: Children's Librarian
Call for Stories Committee Member
We are looking for community members who are passionate about giving children a rich literature and storytelling experience. The ideal committee member has multiple areas of expertise with a diverse perspective to help guide the stories we tell at Fairyland for the year 2025.
The goal of the Stories Committee is to deepen our reach with children through stories that reflect their identity and build a stronger learning community at Fairyland. We have long recognized the need to present stories that are inclusive in representation and seek to strengthen the connection between our performances and audiences. The collective knowledge of Stories Committee members who are well-versed in performing arts, children's literature, and early childhood education will help recommend thoughtful, relevant stories that reflect our place and time.
We are seeking 4 members from the community of one or more of the following professions:
- Early Childhood Educator
- Performing Artist
- Teaching Artist
- Children’s Librarian
Roles and Responsibilities
The roles of the Committee are:
- To recommend culturally inclusive children's stories that represent the identity of Oakland.
- Help Fairyland connect with sources who can help authentically represent stories and provide cultural competencies.
Relevant stories for children ages 1-8.
Recommendations and connections to associate artists, community groups.
Feedback on performance venue, type, and genre.
Consideration of past shows.
Connecting stories to our audience.
Budget of production.
Criteria for Committee Members
- Familiarity with Fairyland
- Be knowledgeable and experienced in their respective discipline, either as an educator or performer in their respective discipline of education and/or performing arts.
- Commitment to community inclusion and representation for Children’s Fairyland.
- Consider the best interests of the entire community.
- Be willing and able to make a contribution of time.
Commitment per member is approximately 10-16 hours per year for meetings, research, and material review. An honorarium of $400 will be offered for non-staff committee members after attending their fourth meeting.
Key Deliverables (each meeting is 1.5 hours with 3-8 hours of independent work)*
Early September 2023 meeting #1 - Info sharing of new mission and vision statements from Education Team, community building (all), overview of the annual program calendar, brainstorm possible stories.
Mid September 2023 meeting #2 - Education Team shares Theatre programs and criteria, discuss public domain vs. copy written titles, discuss roles of committee members, refine themes to align with Fairyland’s annual calendar.
Early October 2023 meeting #3 - Narrow down relevant titles, discuss opportunities for titles to be turned into a play on stage.
Mid October 2023 meeting #4 - Identify titles for each program, goal: 10 puppet shows, 6 Children’s Theatre, and possibly 3 Theatre for the Very Young.
Early November2023 meeting #5 - Refine stories selections.
Mid November 2023 meeting #6 - Discuss Independent work, research, and execution of projects (licensing rights, connect with community partners and cultural consultants), and share feedback and acknowledgements.
*subject to change as we confirm the details of each meeting expectation
July-August ‘23 - Recruit 4 vacant seats.
September ’23 - Kick-off and second meeting.
October ‘23 - Third and fourth meeting.
November’ 23 - Fifth and sixth meeting.
December-January ‘23 Independent work and review scripts.
Interested in joining?
Please email Vicky Chen and include your resume along with a short statement explaining your interest.
Fairyland is committed to inclusive representation and we prioritize creating space for folks within BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and differently abled communities.