Golden Art City: Abigail Van Patter

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Abigail Van Patter is a transplant from North Carolina and adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Theater and Film department. She specializes in Theatre for Young Audiences, having received her Master of Fine Arts in that field from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Van Patter says her love of stimulating the imagination draws her to children's theater.

Abigail Van Patter; Director >> "For me I like to spark the imagination, and foster imagination in the child. And so I am very interested in early childhood development. And so any way I can do that through story telling I find fascinating. And so theater is just another facet for that."

The award winning Australian production of "This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing" is a rare play for the University. Children-oriented performances haven't been produced for more than 15 years.

AVP >> "It's new here! Yeah, it's a family audience play. I like to say children and their grownups. It's geared for I would say K and up. And the reason I say that is because there's action through pictures, so that would be the K audience, and then second and up can get the more philosophical side of it. The story telling. And the narrative is very prose driven."

The play centers around three sisters who embark on a journey of discovery after losing their mother to sickness and their father to an unkind stepmother. They start out their journey as children and return to each other as women. Van Patter discusses her use of physicality, visual aspects, and music to tell the story.

AVP >> "When you're a child you sort of live off the rhythm of life when you're moving, especially when on a play ground. And so when we came up with the play ground concept, I was like, we have to move and utilize this and really get to our childhood roots. And I'm always doing that too when I'm coming up with story telling, because I want the child to go home and turn their table into a house and their chair into a rocket ship and just really spark that. "

The combination of whimsy, prose, and dynamic acting coupled with a run time of about an hour is sure to entertain children of all ages. "This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing" opens Friday, February 9th, and will be on the main stage of the Salisbury Theatre.
For this week's Golden Art City, this is Amanda Brennan.