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Kids’ theater strives for excellence

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Jonathan Dunski says his Albuquerque children’s theater training program, Play Conservatory, has a long way to grow before it can compare to Seattle’s Children’s Theatre, but even giants are babies first, he said.

“I hope it happens within my lifetime, but it’s really a matter of whether or not the theater community here rallies around it,” Dunski said.

He added, “We have plenty of talent and actors willing to do the work who would love to put on professionally staged plays for young audiences, but as I said, the community has to step up.”

If you go
WHAT: “The House at Pooh Corner”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20; 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 and 2 p.m. Jan. 22
WHERE: N4th Theatre, 4904 Fourth NW
HOW MUCH: General admission is $14 adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Purchase advance tickets at www.playconservatory.org

Dunski is expanding programs at Play Conservatory to include a professional company in which artists are paid. He’s launching the venture aimed for young audiences with a professional production of “The House at Pooh Corner”by A.A. Milne, adapted by Bettye Knapp and directed by Dunski. It’s being produced with the help of the South Broadway Cultural Center.

“I’ve been inspired by the great Theatre for Young Audiences work being done at Seattle’s Children’s Theatre,” Dunski said.

He said the Play Conservatory’s production contracts more than a dozen local theater artists for the production.

Dunski said that to launch the effort, he chose a “truly magical production” of “The House at Pooh Corner,” the second volume of stories about Winnie-the-Pooh, in which the character Tigger is introduced.

Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and all the quirky friends plot to escape from the Hundred Acre Wood after they discover that Christopher Robin will be sent away to Education. With its messages of tolerance and cooperation, the work is “a play for everyone,” Dunski said.

The running time for the play is 60 minutes and it is recommended for families with children ages 5 and up.

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