arkansaw-bear-6652Austin Playhouse is thrilled to bring back the inaugural theatre for youth production for a limited run in October. The Arkansaw Bear by Aurand Harris is a marvelous and daring play that tells the story of a little girl named Tish, who has just discovered that her grandfather is dying. She runs away to her special tree, wishes upon a star, and escapes to a fantastical world of music, magic and dance. There she meets the world’s greatest dancing bear, who is also running away from death. In trying to help him, Tish begins to understand the meaning of life and death and learns how to cope with her own sadness.

The Arkansaw Bear is directed by Lara Toner Haddock and stars Michael Stuart as the world’s great dancing bear, Kenedi Delgado as Tish, Marie Fahlgren as the Arkansaw Bear, Zac Thomas as the Mime, Jess Hughes as Star Bright, and Stephen Mercantel as the Ringmaster.

Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock says, “I saw The Arkansaw Bear at the Cincinnati Playhouse when I was eight years old. I still remember being completely entranced by the story. What I loved then and continue to love about the play is that it takes children and their feelings seriously. It’s dealing with death, but makes the point that death is part of life and those we love live on through us; that we honor their memory by living good lives. And it gets this huge idea across with humor and love and a little magic. It’s a fantastic play to introduce children to the power of theatre. And I think it’s a wonderful choice to kick off our Theatre for Youth program.”

Aurand Harris was one of America’s foremost playwrights for young audiences, acclaimed for upgrading the genre and writing entertaining children’s stories that dramatize universal truths. Harris’s plays sweep audiences into new worlds that are full of humor, magic, and fun–all the while teaching important life skills that help as children grow and navigate obstacles.

arkansaw-bear-castAustin Playhouse believes that an early introduction to theatre helps students learn creativity, social skills and critical thinking. Students should be challenged to actively listen, imagine new worlds, and relate to the struggles of characters on stage. At its best, theatre introduces new cultures and ideas, as well as new ways of looking at our own culture and ideas.

Because Austin Playhouse believes cost should not be a factor, all performances of our Theatre for Youth productions are free.

The Arkansaw Bear is targeted to grades 2 – 6, but is appropriate for the whole family.


October 8, 9, 15 at 2:30pm, October 10 at 11am; school performances October 3-15

Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus
6001 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78752, South Entrance

FREE, reservations recommended

Call 512.476.0084 or online at



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