Dear supporters and Fans,
Thank you for a very successfully IndieGoGo run. Our total, as of 3/17/2013 is a little over $10,000! (That is online donations plus offline donation) We could not have done this without you all. Although we can no longer accept donations through IndieGoGo we are still in need of donations and still accepting them.
To donate please send a check made out to The Shadow Box Theatre to Shadow Box Theatre, 325 West End Avenue, Apt. 12B, New York, NY 10023 or call 212-724-0677 to make a donation over the phone.
As my grandmother said in out last update, "Though we are noticeably short of our stated goal of $27,000, in good faith, Earth & Me has gone into rehearsal. The opening date is April 17th at Hostos College in the Bronx. We have already booked 3,140 inner city school children to see the show in all 4 boros. Our goal is 6 to 8,000. Hopefully between additional fund raising and ticket sales we will be able to end our season in the black and bring a wonderful show supported by you, our dedicated contributors, to our young audiences."
Please Know how deeply appreciative we are of your help. You literally will have inspired many children to care for our earth as well as making many children smile. We hope to see many of you at our performances!
Our Inter-generational joining of hands has made a small miracle happen.
Sandra Robbins and Miwa Oseki Robbins, all of us at SBT and the many children we serve
The Earth & Me begins with the quote. “All things are interconnected. What befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.” Chief Seattle
"The Earth & Me evolved from a poem that I wrote many years ago as a gift to my grandchildren. My goal: to inspire children to respect, protect and honor the earth — the land, the water, and all its creatures, using the most powerful medium I know – Theatre. As the show ends the child, affected by the Earth’s plight, sings “I promise you a new beginning, a new beginning and a hope…Yes, Hand in Hand we all will stand, across the land, yes hand in hand, and ask for peace” And the children in the audience join, and the commitment to the Earth is made." Sandra Robbins, Founding Director, The Shadow Box Theatre
“I am Sandra Robbins’ eldest grandchild and have just graduated from Cornell University majoring in environmental science. The Shadow box Theatre changed my life and has shaped me in more ways then I can imagine. But more importantly I see the impact it has on each child that is blessed with the opportunity to experience SBT. Children love my grandmother's shows. When I go to her weekday shows full of public school children I am amazed at the reception her theatre receives. They sing, dance, and clap along. In The Earth & Me they all join hands at the end of the show and sing "Hand in Hand," making a commitment to peace and the earth. As a child I remember listening to the sound track of The Earth & Me and re-enacting the whole play with two little stuffed animal seals I had, entertaining myself for hours. I knew all the songs by heart and especially love the closing song, 'Hand in Hand.'
Today when I see who I have become, an outdoor enthusiast and a passionate steward of the natural world as well as an empowered individual with great concern for the earth and its people, I have to look back and thank my many influences, but particularly my grandma, who has always been one of my strongest woman role models. Her passion to bring theatre with important messages to children is a great example of a life's work well spent. When I heard that The Shadow Box Theatre was in a financial crisis due to Hurricane Sandy and considering canceling its spring show of The Earth & Me, I knew I had to help. Now, more then ever, I think children need this show. With many in NYC having seen first hand the darkness brought by extreme weather, children need a message of hope and a guiding light of a way to live in peace and harmony with the earth. This show provides just that and much more. Anyone who experienced the power of theatre and the magic of its’ “Story-telling” as a child, knows that it stays with you forever. Thank you for helping us make this fund raising effort a great success.” Miwa Oseki Robbins
“When the play [The Earth & Me] was unfortunately over, I put everything in the play together, and I got the message of what the play was trying to say, and it touched my feelings so deeply, it brought tears to my eyes."
- Student, P.S. 290
About The Shadow Box Theatre
The Shadow Box Theatre began in 1967 as the brainchild of an extraordinary woman, Sandra Robbins, who dreamed of using light, color, and sound to profoundly touch the creative spirit within each child. Beginning out of a bus, called The Children's Caravan, Sandra Robbins captivated audiences throughout Central and Riverside Park with story-time and shadow puppet shows. Today, The Shadow Box Theatre is a three fold program that provides multimedia puppet shows, Theatre Arts Workshops, and Children’s books, audios, and DVDs to young audiences.
Primarily serving New York City's children, teachers, and parents, it is the second oldest continuously running children’s theatre in NYC. Its award winning multimedia puppet shows, theatre arts workshops, and children's books, audios, DVDs and teacher guides serve over 30,000 children each year. This multi-ethnic troupe performs and works with inner city children and families, bringing laughter, joy, and affirmation to young audiences. Children not only enjoy the professional shows but SBT also gives them the opportunity to create their own puppets and productions inspired by The Shadow Box Theatre. Two great youtube videos that capture these workshops are here: The 2nd grade and 5th grade workshops.
SBT’s many shows, range from Lumpy Bumpy Pumpkin, a Halloween tale, to Big Annie, an American folk tale, to The African Drum, a celebration of multicultural sharing, to The Earth & Me, an inspiring tale empowering children to bring peace to the Earth. They model tolerance and respect for diversity, empower children with a positive view of themselves, their world, and their future
SBT's multi-sensory productions have a strong and immediate audio-visual impact on their young audiences. Their ultimate purpose is far-reaching. Children's theatre is more than a dynamic art form - it is a powerful educational tool. Through their synthesis of live interactive theatre, puppetry, song and dance, The Shadow Box Theatre:
- Fosters self-esteem and social responsibility
- Encourages learning through creative expression
- Supports ethnic pride and cross-cultural sharing
- Promotes a safe and healthy lifestyle
- Teaches the hazards of drugs, alcohol and tobacco
- Provides tools for change in a troubled environment
- Offers a lasting message of hope and peace
Peek in on a Shadow Box Theatre audience and you'll see something like a kid's United Nations, a cross-section of the City's diverse populations. SBT's school shows, with low group ticket rates and convenient weekday schedules, provide a stimulating creative experience for inner city pre-school, elementary, and middle school children. For many, Shadow Box is their first theatrical experience. The interactive nature of the shows allows them to participate regardless of functional level. Elementary, special education, ESL and family audiences alike respond to the vivid sights and sounds of an SBT performance. Because of this direct involvement, Shadow Box Theatre shows have become cherished landmarks in the imaginative lives of their young audiences. Family weekend performances afford an unparalleled opportunity for cross-cultural exchange, drawing a faithful following from the immediate neighborhood and the extended metropolitan area. Shadow Box audiences continue to share their enthusiasm with classmates, friends and family long after the show is over. The impact on one child who sat in the audience years ago was so long-lasting that he went on later to become an SBT performer.
When the recent Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, it brought damage of floods, school closings, show cancellations, and major disruptions, impacting many children and families. As we look forward and see much of New York still suffering in the aftermath, we know we must maintain our plans for our spring production, The Earth & Me, even though, due to the hurricane, it is a fiscal risk. This show feels particularly vital now as it teaches peace and environmental stewardship and brings hope and empowerment to children through the inspiring mediums of story, dance, and song. Although much of the world has moved on from Hurricane Sandy, for the children and families affected by power outages and floods, the pervading darkness and fear around not having a home continues. And for others it is not easily forgotten.
What 2012 Brought:
We all know that the economic downturn has taken its toll on many enterprises, including The Shadow Box Theatre. As a result we entered 2012 with very little money left in the bank for a “rainy day.” Our earnings are a major source of our income and Hurricane Sandy caused us to lose most of our fall season. Because of school closings, disruption in New York City transportation, and cancelled school trips for almost the entire month of November, our fall season was greatly curtailed and resulted in us losing $37,000 in expected revenue. Most recently, our winter season has also gotten off to a challenging start. The school bus strike in NYC means teachers do not have a way to transport their children to our shows. If there are no school buses, there is little to no audience. Already we have had many cancellations of our run of The African Drum, which celebrates African-American History Month. We do not yet know its entire fiscal impact. However, we do know the income loss will be many thousands of dollars.
We now have the choice to either close our doors for the rest of the spring season or to turn to the public for support. We believe the The Earth & Me is an important story that our children need to be told at this time and so we are taking the financial risk, and reaching out to you to help us keep SBT's commitment to our young audiences.
The Shadow Box Theatre’s primary medium is shadow puppets, which exist because of light. Metaphorically and literally they bring light into the hearts of children through stories of peace and hope.
The Earth & Me brings a vital message of empowerment to children using the mediums of music, dance, three dimensional puppetry, magical shadow figures and overhead projections on our shadow screen. This inspiring production, who’s message, in todays world is so important not only for our young audiences, but for us all to remember, was last performed in 2006. Watch the promo video we created of our first year of producing The Earth & Me for a fuller comprehension of the message. At that time we were still the Children’s Theatre in Residence at the Brooklyn YWCA. When its policy changed and it became only a residence for women, we had to move. Since then, we have not had the proper space or dance floor to rehearse and perform this show. However, its important message about peace, respect for the Earth, and creating a balanced environment, made us decide to rent rehearsal and performance space and put it back in the repertoire for our 2013 season. The advent of the hurricane and its impact made this production a fiscal risk but even more cogent. There are many ways to TEACH PEACE! Theatre is one of the most powerful and memorable. With your financial support we will be able to fulfill our mission. “Hand in Hand” we can do it together.
The artistic excellence of these works is exemplified by the recognition we have received over the years and the continuing demand for our productions from teachers and parents. We have received broad and critical acclaim for the high caliber and artistic staging of our works in The New York Times, Newsday, New York Daily News, Amsterdam News, New York Parent Magazine, El Diario and other media, and CBS Evening News, NY- 1 (Parenting Segment) and local television have featured us. We have made featured appearances at Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Symphony Space, Emelin Theatre, Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Museum, and other cultural institutions. In addition, SBT has appeared on Mister Roger's Neighborhood, Vegetable Soup, Romper Room and the PBS special anniversary production, Kids 13.
The Shadow Box Theatre has received multiple awards such as from the Office of the New York State Governor Mario Cuomo, Office of New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani, the Public Health Association of New York, the First Manufacturer’s Hanover Community Service Award, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, and the Metropolitan Hospital Center. It has created an educational video for the New York City Department of Transportation and the theatre’s books, CDs, and DVDs for children have received excellent reviews from the American Library Association’s Booklist, the School Library Journal, and an ALA “Children’s Notable Recording” award for How The Turtle Got Its Shell.
What You Will Be Supporting
The Shadow Box Theatre is a 501(c) (3) non profit organization. All our earnings and funding from grants and private donors goes into programming. Through our tenacity and dedication we are the second oldest continuously running children’s theatre in New York City. You will be helping a theatre that serves over 30,000 inner city children and families a year. For many we are their first theatrical experience.
- Free and discounted tickets for children and families in need
- Rental of rehearsal and performing space
- Production, Performer and Creative Team fees
- Light and sound tech
- Costume and set design
- Puppet creation and repair
- Promotional costs
The Shadow Box Theatre believes in the strength of numbers and knows that every little bit counts. So whether you can donate just $1 or $1000, your support is greatly appreciated. If you are thinking about making a large donation but would like to know more first, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Can't give money?
That's ok. You can still help us by spreading the word! Use our share tools and your own networks to help us reach out through facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. And if you have been touched by SBT please write us a review on yelp and google+. Are you connected to a New York City school? Contact us and we would love to work with you to bring our performances and workshops to even broader audiences.
What You Will Receive in Return
Our funding goal is to put on the The Earth & Me in time for Earth Day in April 2013. Any amount we raise above and beyond this will help insure the longevity of SBT for your children and grandchildren to come.
Please check out the sidebar for our awesome Perks! And Check back frequently as there may be new ones, like the Early Bird Special, that you won't want to miss!
Note: Some perks are only available if you live in the greater NYC area.
If you do not live in the greater New York City area we will still, of course, send you CDs, books, and DVDs of your choice and would be happy to send you some never expiring tickets to our shows that you can use at your convenience. Or, if you choose, we can donate your free tickets and/or workshop or special event to a child, school, or community center of your choice in the greater New York City area.
If we do not reach our goal we will do everything in our power to find the funds we need by other means. If we are not able to put on The Earth & Me we will still be able to fulfill our perks and tickets will be valid for any of our productions.
Any money that we raise above and beyond our goal will also continue to fund and support the theatre and the work that we do serving the inner city children of New York City. The Show Must Go On!
Sandra Robbins, Originator, Artistic Director, Author, Playwright, Songwriter of the Earth & Me
Sandra Robbins is the founding Artistic/Executive Director of The Shadow Box Theatre. For 46 years her dedication and love of children, as well as her tenacious awareness that children are our future has driven her to keep SBT alive, vital & cogent. With the motto that Theatre Arts are a powerful tool to stimulate & motivate creativity, peaceful solutions, learning & the acceptance of differences, she has written and directed numerous artistic musical puppet productions, 10 children’s books with accompanying read-along audios, show audios and DVDS as well as helping develop Theatre Arts Workshops for children of all ages and their families. The Earth & Me, as a work of art, is a culmination of her teaching and her dance and music background as well as an inspired sharing of her love for the Earth and her commitment to the children of the future.
Jeff Olmsted, Musical Director and partner in the creation of the music and the audio of The Earth & Me.
Jeffs dedication to children is exemplified by the many years that he had been the Musical Director of the Shadow Box Theatre. He created the musical arrangements, musical interludes and co produced the audio of The Earth & Me. Jeff also co-produced the Read-Along/ Move Along book/CD series for See-More’s Workshop, the publishing arm of The Shadow Box Theatre. He founded and directs the Peace In the Valley Choir in Northampton, Mass. In 2009, the Dayton Philharmonic commissioned "Songs of Rumi", a 30-minute piece for chamber orchestra and chorus. He is an active teacher of Music with children and adults. See/hear more at jeffolmsted.com.
Iku Oseki, Art Director and Puppet and set designer for The Earth & Me
Iku has illustrated many of the books for the Shadow Box Theatre. She was the Art Director for The Earth & Me, designing the three dimensional puppets and visuals as well as shadow figures for the overhead projector; envisioning effects with the creative use of elements such as rippling water and layered colors. Now Iku is the beloved art teacher at Fayerweather Street School, a small private school in Cambridge, MA where she encourages the creativity within each child, teaching kindergarten through 8th graders.
Shela Xoregos, Co –Director & Choreographer of The Earth & Me
Shela choreographed and co-directed The Earth & Me from its inception till 2006 for The Shadow Box Theatre and will be returning to choreograph and co-direct the 2013 production. She has many years of experience directing dance and theatre for New York and for regional and summer stock companies. Her company, Xoregos Performing Company, has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, MoMA San Francisco, Palace of the Legion of Honor, Oakland Museum and in theaters and parks all over NYC.
Miwa Oseki Robbins, Eldest grandchild of Sandra Robbins. Enough said.
Richard Numeroff, Videographer of The Earth & Me video for Indigogo
We want to extend our huge thanks to Richard who donated his time to create the video for this IndieGoGo Campaign. Richard grew up with Sandra's children and has many fond memories of the theatre, including baking puppets in the oven one Sunday afternoon with his friend, Sandy's son, Michael Robbins. Richard is a veteran videographer and founder of Relay Productions with many works to his credit. Please check out and support his work, which can be found at http://www.numeroff.com/.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
From Miwa, Sandy, and the SBT Community.
Reviews of The Shadow Box Theatre
"I arranged for my E.S.L. classes to attend The Earth & Me on (my birthday). It was the best present I could have gotten. We all had such a glorious experience! The presentation is easily understood without a high degree of facility in English. It is perfect for new language learners. If we only have one trip next year, it will certainly be to the Shadow Box Theatre presentation. May you continue your wonderful work."
- Teacher, P.S. 233, Brooklyn
"I like how the book explains how the Earth was so quiet until people came along, fighting with each other for land and it's making the Earth get hurt. The bears, butterflies, dolphins, and eagles are all something special to the Earth. I really love the book."
-Student, P.S. 151
"Children's theater is refreshing because it does not require the standard protocol of erect postures and silence. When something wows the children, they exhale great bursts of 'ooohs' and 'aaahs.' We adults have to stifle our natural reactions. The Brooklyn YWCA turned into an arena of screeches and yelps Wednesday morning as bigger-than-life butterfly and bumble bee puppets swarmed over the stage, in The Shadow Box Theatre's presentation of The Earth & Me."
- Brooklyn Daily Eagle
"For centuries, children all over the world have been intrigued by shadows. The Shadow Box Theatre is bringing the ancient art form of shadow puppets to children in No Balloons Today. The group seems to have turned a kaleidoscope in such a way that the colorful pieces have formed winsome people, realistic animals and finely etched scenery...The youngsters are included all the way." - The New York Times
The African Drum: "Behind the screen, busy hands artfully maneuvered thin poles to manipulate the jointed figures formed from rainbow-hued pieces of plastic. Before the screen, more than 100 youngsters watched delightedly yesterday as striped zebras, spotted leopards, magnificently garbed African warriors, elephants and engaging birds flitted in silhouette across the illuminated screen...For those who think of puppets either on strings or on the hand like a glove, shadow puppetry is a delightful new find with the charm of an animated cartoon."
- The Washington Post
"This endearing presentation of The African Drum is an ideal way to familiarize children with African folklore. They are transported into a world of colorful tales enhanced by African rhythm and song. And so with this production, the Shadow Box Theatre has found a wonderful way to honor Black History Month."
- The Black American
"I must take a moment to comment on an exceptional program which we at P.S. 30 have experienced...Programs such as SBT's provide an invaluable experience to students who have had very limited exposure to the performing arts. Art as an expression of culture, history, joy, and information, helps children better understand their world."
- Teacher, P.S. 30, Queens