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Seattle's 2018 outdoor theater season: What's best for kids



Your outdoor-theater packing list: Blanket, yes; chair, maybe; kids, often; dogs, rarely.

For a few short weeks each summer, Seattle's actors take their work outside, presenting plays in the parks. These performances are intimate; no walls separate actors from the audiences crowding in closely catch the action. They are affordable; the cost is whatever you want to pay when they pass the hat. And the skill and imagination on display here is impressive. With only a box full of props, actors have to create worlds on the park lawn. They can switch between roles within a second, with the aid of a hat, a cape, a swagger or a change in voice. And they often have to improvise, keeping the play going no matter what comes at them: be it rain, sirens, stray frisbees, or excitable dogs.

Some of these plays are directed at children. Many are directed at adults, but are enjoyable for older children. Several companies present short versions of the plays, getting everything done in an hour or less. Some of the plays, such as Shakespeare's tragedies, are really not for kids.

Bring: a blanket, layers, water, some cash to put in the hat, and, if you like, a picnic. Don't bring packaging that can make noise. You never realize how much noise a bag of chips makes until you try and open one quietly. Also, outdoor theater is designed for a human audience, so it's not a good idea to bring dogs. There are of course exceptions; a stalwart service dog or a stoic and cultured senior, say. But for many dogs, seeing a play isn't that much fun, and they can disrupt the action, if for example, an actor suddenly moves in their direction. Camp chairs are a good idea for some, but avoid blocking anyone's view: the taller the chair, the farther back in the audience you need to sit.

Productions come to parks all over the city. Here are the Seattle parks and outdoor spaces hosting plays in 2018, with some good picks for kids.

Central

Volunteer Park

1247 15th Ave E

This lush and leafy park in Capitol Hill has an amphitheater along with two  frequently used lawns for putting on plays. All three spaces come to life on July 14 and 15 when the Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival gets going.

Pinocchio, produced by Theater Schmeater. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Saturday, July 14, 5 p.m. Sunday, July 15, 4 p.m. Sunday, August 5.

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14, 2 p.m. Sunday July 15.

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 4 p.m. Sunday, July 15, 1 p.m. Saturday, August 18.

Twelfth Night, produced by Last Leaf Productions. 6o minutes. Noon, Saturday, July 14.

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14, 7 p.m. Thursday, August 16, 7 p.m. Saturday, August 18.

 

Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park

2100 S Jackson St

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 6 p.m. Wednesday July 25.

 

Judkins Park

2150 S Norman St

Pinocchio, produced by Theater Schmeater. 60 minutes. 4 p.m. July 28, 4 p.m. August 4.

 

Pratt Park

1800 S Main St

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 7 p.m. Friday, August 17.

 

Powell Barnett Park

352 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18.

 

Southeast

Seward Park

5900 Lake Washington Blvd S

Follow the signs to the amphitheater in the middle of the upper loop drive.

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 7 p.m. Friday, July 13, 3 p.m. Sunday, July 15.

 

Othello Playground

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 7 p.m. Friday, July 20.

Pinocchio, produced by Theater Schmeater. 60 minutes. 4 p.m. Saturday, July 21, 4 p.m. Sunday, July 22.

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Saturday, July 28.

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug 4.

 

Pritchard Island Beach

8400 55th Ave S

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Sunday July 29.

 

Northwest

Salmon Bay Park

2001 NW Canoe Pl

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Saturday, July 21.

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 3 p.m. Sunday, July 22.

 

Wallingford Playfield

4219 Wallingford Ave N

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 7 p.m. Saturday, July 21.

 

Ballard Commons Park

5701 22nd Ave NW

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Sunday, July 22.

 

Dunn Gardens

13533 Northshire Rd NW

This private botanical garden in the northwest corner of Seattle opens to the public for a showing of Pinocchio. No dogs.

Pinocchio, produced by Theater Schmeater. 60 minutes. 4 p.m. Sunday, July 29.

 

Lower Woodland Park

Whitman Ave N and N 59th

Follow the signs to the performance area just east of Shelter 6.

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5

 

Sandel Playground

9053 1st Ave

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 3 p.m. Sunday, August 5.

 

West Seattle

High Point Commons

6400 Sylvan Way SW

The amphitheater is behind High Point Neighborhood House.

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 7 p.m. Friday, July 13.

 

Camp Long

5200 35th Ave SW

Performances are at the south end of the park, in front of the large climbing rock.

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 7 p.m. Saturday, July 21.

 

Lincoln Park

8011 Fauntleroy Way SW

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 3 p.m. Sunday, July 22, 7 p.m. Friday, July 27.

 

Roxhill Park

2850 SW Roxbury St

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Saturday August 4.

 

Highland Park Playground

1100 SW Cloverdale St

When You Wish Upon a Pizza, produced by The 14/48 Projects. 60 minutes. 5 p.m. Sunday August 5.

 

Delridge Playfield

4458 Delridge Way SW

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 3 p.m. Sunday August 12.

 

Northeast

Magnuson Park

7400 Sand Point Way NE

From the entrance at the end of NE 74th St.,  follow the signs to the Magnuson Community Garden Amphitheater.

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 7 p.m. Friday August 10, 3 p.m. Saturday August 11.

 

Cowen Park

5849 15th Ave NE

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 7 p.m. Friday August 10.

 

Magnolia

Discovery Park

3801 Discovery Park Blvd

The performance space is about 200 yards south of the Environmental Learning Center.

The Three Musketeers, produced by Greenstage. 2 hours. 3 p.m. Sunday, July 29.

 

Queen Anne

David Rodgers Park

2800 1st Ave W

The Two Gentleman of Verona, produced by Greenstage. 45 minutes. 3 p.m. Sunday, July 29.

 

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