Teaming up for some theatrical fun Thursday

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By Special to the Monitor

Los Alamos County Library System and the Santa Clara Pueblo Library are teaming up to bring theatrical fun to kids from both communities this summer.

From 1-4 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Clara Pueblo Neighborhood Facility Gym, adjacent to the library, children will embark on an imaginary vegetable safari in the play “The Caterpillar Hunter,” presented by The Traveling Lantern Theater Company from Portland, Ore.

The play is geared for, but not limited to, children in kindergarten through eighth grades and is based on the beloved character by the late Steve Irwin.

The Caterpillar Hunter shrinks himself and sets off to explore the terrain pursuing elusive bugs and strange herbage in the wild recesses of a common North American vegetable garden.

Whether cheering the villain, creating sound effects or playing one of the main characters in the show, children from the audience are provided a hands-on opportunity to share in the experience of live theatre.

The interactive play is a perfect fit with this year’s Summer Reading theme, “Catch the Reading Bug!”

Both the Los Alamos County Library System and the Santa Clara Pueblo Library have great summer reading programs for kids and, when they heard about the Traveling Lantern show at a recent regional meeting of library directors, Teresa Naranjo, Santa Clara Library director, and Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan, Los Alamos Library System manager, thought it sounded like great fun for their younger patrons and took the opportunity to collaborate.

Unfortunately, the theater company had a requirement for a minimum number of bookings in order for them to be able to afford the trip to northern New Mexico.

So, when Pat Hodapp, director of Santa Fe Public Libraries, said that she had a $500 grant from a private donor that she could offer, having the theater company perform suddenly became possible.

The money was split between two libraries, one of which was Santa Clara.

Both library directors are enthusiastic about teaming up.

“We are so close but often libraries don’t have that many opportunities to collaborate, especially on the fun stuff. Librarians do meet regularly but usually it is all about business issues. It is so nice that we are able to do this for both of our communities ee it just seems like it was meant to be,” Naranjo said.

“We’re all really excited about this collaboration between the Santa Clara Pueblo community library and the Los Alamos County libraries, since we are such close neighbors and we thought it would be fun to try a cooperative venture involving both our communities,” Kalogeros-Chattan said. “The Los Alamos half of the fee is being provided by the Friends of Mesa Public Library. Libraries love to pool resources in order to be able to offer the most to our patrons in terms of services. Sometimes, it just takes sitting down together for good things to happen.”

Now in its 20th year, the Traveling Lantern Theatre Company continues its mission to educate and entertain children, bringing great stories from literature, history and biographies to life for audiences across the United States.

“Our company’s mission is to reinforce the arts curriculum in schools and enhance summer reading programs at libraries with our very affordable, accessible and interactive performances,” said K.B. Mercer, executive director of Traveling Lantern.

For more information about Traveling Lantern productions , check out its website, www.travelinglantern.com.