Independence Library Welcomes Interactive Children's Theater Performances for Welcoming Week

By Julie B. Tue, September 12, 2017

Welcoming Week is almost upon us—an annual national series supported by the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs that aims to bring together immigrants, refugees, and native-born residents to raise awareness of the benefits of welcoming everyone. In celebration, the Independence Library is excited to welcome Dragon’s Eye Theatre for a series of children’s theater performances, as part of the 2017 Philly Fringe Festival.

Dragon’s Eye, a Philadelphia ensemble committed to creating theatrical experiences that celebrate the power of imagination for audiences of all ages and backgrounds, has created an interactive play especially for the multicultural, multilingual customers this neighborhood library serves. The original production Follow Me Through the Gates—the title of which is inspired by a mural inside the library—invites children ages 5 to 10, with accompanying adults, to help Grandfather, Ty, Azsori, and their favorite librarian on a quest to remain true to their roots and true to their friends.

The adventure begins on Saturday, September 16, with performances at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and continues at the same times on Saturday, September 23 and Saturday, September 30. The performance lasts approximately 45 minutes, with no intermission. It will take place at Independence Library, 18 South 7th Street, utilizing the furniture, artwork, books, and other library items as the architecture of the journey that characters and audience will take together.

Playwright Stephanie N. Walters—Philadelphia’s first Asian American playwright, and the daughter of an immigrant from South Korea—will write the play in collaboration with director Suzana Berger and a team of playful Philadelphia actors, inspired by the people of all ages who frequent the Independence Library. The performance is free, but donations to support the theater’s work are welcome. Children will also be invited to share what they like about the show or draw the company a picture of their favorite part.

The play will be the Independence Library’s main offering for Welcoming Week, taking place September 15 to 24, 2017. Independence Library serves Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood and frequently hosts events designed to welcome people from the many backgrounds represented by its customers. In keeping with Welcoming Week’s theme, Follow Me Through the Gates will revolve around characters who encounter conflicts between honoring their heritage and living life in America, and who need new ways to welcome and be welcomed.

Dragon’s Eye Theatre is known for the original plays Seek & Hide and A Mystery?, both created especially for Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse in Fairmount Park. 

"Dragon's Eye Theatre makes plays in places where children and adults from the many different backgrounds that make up our vibrant city can feel comfortable and welcome, where they expect to find great stories and great people. Independence Library is just that kind of place. We're thrilled to be putting our imaginations to work with the stories and people that make it such a colorful destination."

– Suzana Berger, Dragon's Eye artistic director

Free tickets are available at fringearts.com for the September 16 and 23 performances. For more information and for free ticket reservations for the September 30 performances, visit dragonseyetheatre.com.

Follow Me Through the Gates has been created specifically for the Independence Library community by Dragon's Eye Theatre.
Follow Me Through the Gates has been created specifically for the Independence Library community by Dragon's Eye Theatre.
Dragon's Eye's team of actors and artists wrote and rehearsed the play at Independence Library.
Dragon's Eye's team of actors and artists wrote and rehearsed the play at Independence Library.
The library's mural inspired the title of the play, Follow Me Through the Gates
The library's mural inspired the title of the play, Follow Me Through the Gates

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