View The Creative Team Behind Buoyant Sea
BUOYANT SEA – A new water table play especially created for children ages 1-5, and the grown-ups who love them.
Created and produced by Hiawatha Project.
Presented in partnership with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as a part of the international EQT Children’s Festival alongside performances from as far across the pond as Australia, England, and Madagascar!
Limited “immersive” seating is available!
Come sing, splash, and explore with us!
Show times are:
Friday, May 19th at 10:30am
Saturday, May 20th at 10am, 12:30pm, and 3pm
Sunday at 10am and 2pm
Presented at the Pierce Studio Theatre in the Cultural Trust Education Center 805 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh 15222.
For tickets and show information please visit: TrustArts.org/CTF
In “Buoyant Sea” young children sing and splash together along with their grown-ups in a “water-table-play” about the joy of togetherness. Come along with the ever-exuberant character of MC, and the timid, Rumi-quoting character of CC, as they row together through misty rivers and explore the icy arctic with story, song, and participatory play. Together this pair of best friends discover that when the world changes around us, like water, we can adapt, flow, and float up again. *Dress for play and splashing!
HIAWATHA PROJECT in partnership with THE PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST presents a world premiere immersive “water-table-play” BUOYANT SEA as a part of the EQT Children’s Theater Festival May 19-21.
During the thick of the COVID lock downs, as theater playwright, director, and mom, Anya Martin, woke to another day of remote schooling and came to grips with yet another show cancellation for her company, Hiawatha Project, she started to think about containment and change. “Here we all are feeling so stuck – in our homes, in our containers with each day feeling the same, and yet at the same time, everything seemed to be changing as well – our states of being – with shifting relationships, emotions, and perspectives.” This led Martin to explore water as an immersive storytelling medium in the company’s upcoming “water-table-play” for young children, Buoyant Sea, produced in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust this May.
In Buoyant Sea, children and their grown-ups sing and splash together as they adventure down misty rivers and explore a frozen lake in a world-premiere new work. In one of the opening moments of the play, the ever exuberant character of MC takes a big gulp of water and exclaims, “Water takes the shape of its container! Wait. Wait…am I…the container now? I AM the container…!!! I AM A BODY OF WATER…!” While the show is bubbling with joy and fun, it was created during an admittedly difficult time for Martin and her Hiawatha creative partner and fellow mom friend, Heather Irwin. They began developing the piece in July of 2020 out the need for a creative outlet during the particularly exhausting challenges of pandemic parenting.
“The incredible toll that the pandemic and subsequent early lockdowns took on parents and caregivers is well documented. And very real. And very painful.” says Irwin, mentioning a recent report by Psychology Today in 2021 in which the CDC research found that “70% of adults serving as caregivers (either as parents or caring for other adults) reported adverse symptoms related to mental health during the pandemic.”
“This play is as much for the caregivers and parents as it is for the kids. It’s about moving through transitions by connecting with those that we love,” says Irwin. The comically practical, but wise character of CC often quotes great philosophers in the show, such as Rumi, Davinci and even Heraclitus, as characters struggle to make sense of their changing world, lines which will surely resonate with parents.
The show is written by Anya Martin with original music and lyrics by Monica Stephenson, the core creative team that created Hiawatha’s wildly successful My Traveling Song, in 2019. My Traveling Song was originally scheduled to be remounted with Pittsburgh Cultural Trust in 2020, with plans for festival touring. However, after 3 postponements due to COVID, the show was eventually canceled. Much of the company’s research and experience for creating works for very young children was infused into Buoyant Sea as well, including how children interact with tactile environments, music, and natural elements in order to interpret the world around them. Richard Louv’s book, “The Last Child in the Woods” and the Orff Approach to music education which emphasizes “experience first, then intellectualize,” were also influential.
“The singing and music have been thoughtfully crafted to be easily sung by young children and their parents. There’s a lot of layered meanings and metaphors behind the seemingly simple lyrics, however, for the most part the music is meant to be accessible. Accessible and yet deeply felt. And fun! It’s been such a fun show to work on!” says Buoyant Sea composer and fellow mom, Monica Stephenson.
Martin is also very excited about the design of the show which will include many surprises for kids and adults. “The design team on this work is really top notch, and we can’t wait to welcome families along with us on what I call a “symbiotic immersive experience” for young children and the grown ups who love them,” says Martin.
Buoyant Sea will have its world premiere as a part of the prestigious EQT Children’s International Theater Festival, alongside works from around the world including Australia, Canada, France, Japan and Madagascar. Buoyant Sea is the only work from the United States. For tickets and show information please visit: TrustArts.org/CTF. Learn more about Hiawatha Project at www.hiawathaproject.org
Performances are May 19-21, 2023 at the Pierce Studio Theatre in the Cultural Trust Education Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” RUMI
In “Buoyant Sea” young children sing and splash together along with their grown-ups in a “water-table-play” about the joy of togetherness. Come along with the ever-exuberant character of MC, and the timid, Rumi-quoting character of CC, as they row together through misty rivers and explore the icey arctic with story, song, and participatory play. Together this pair of best friends discover that when the world changes around us, like water, we can adapt, flow, and float up again. *Dress for play and splashing!
With its first barrier breaking work, Camino, Hiawatha Project was founded in 2011 “with scenes of imagination and poetic insight.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) For 10 years Hiawatha Project has produced original professional theatre with a heart for social justice, and a rich and layered aesthetic to present theatre which “will alternately rouse you and break your heart.” (City Paper for JH: Mechanics of a Legend) Hiawatha has received funding awards from AER Capacity Building, The August Wilson Center Legacy Fund, August Wilson Center Programing, Brooks Foundation, Heinz Small Arts Initiative, Heinz Ednowments, Opportunity Fund, Spout Fund, PA Council of the Arts, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and PNC Charities. Hiawatha’s latest work, “My Traveling Song” sold out its first run in 2019, in which “both young children and their adult minders were captivated.” (Pittsburgh Tatler) The company was proud to present a reading of its newest work in development, “In Our Time/ Stories from the Front Lines of the Medical Fields” in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural and in accordance with the national TCG conference in June of 2022. To learn more see www.hiawathaproject.org
FUNDING FOR BUOYANT SEA
“Buoyant Sea” is proudly supported by The Heinz Endowments and The McKinney Charitable Foundation with Fiscal Sponsorship from Off The Wall Productions.
The Heinz Endowments seeks to help our region thrive as a whole and just community and, through that work, to model solutions to major national and global challenges. We are devoted to advancing our vision of southwestern Pennsylvania as a vibrant center of creativity, learning, and social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Our work is supported by reliable data based on equitable, results-focused goals to cultivate a world where all are treated with fairness and respect and have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.