Celebrated Canadian children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond and her son Matt open the new TD First Stages series at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Oct. 2.

Celebrated Canadian children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond and her son Matt open the new TD First Stages series at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Oct. 2.

There’s more for kids to love at the theatre

Vernon Performing Arts Centre Society starts its new TD First Stages series with a performance by Charlotte Diamond.

As famous as Alligator Pie is in the lexicon that is children’s prose in this country, Charlotte Diamond’s songbook is one that most Canadians living today grew up with.

Kids, young and old, have likely sang along (in French, English and Spanish), danced and hand motioned to such ditties as Each of Us is a Flower, I am a Pizza, Octopus, 4 Hugs a Day and May There Always be Sunshine.

Recently appointed to the Order of Canada for her contributions to children’s music, Diamond, who has a home on Okanagan Lake in Vernon, is returning to the area to open the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society’s newly named TD First Stages series, Oct. 2.

Diamond will be joined by her son, Matt, on electric guitar to perform new songs from her 14th studio recording, Diamonds by the Sea.

“The TD First Stages series is crafted for our youngest patrons,” said the PAC’s artistic director Erin Kennedy. “Ages two and up can enjoy two gentle shows where a toddler’s enthusiasm is welcome. Of course, children and guardians of all ages are invited to share in the joys of this new series where shushing isn’t necessary.”

First Stages is one of two distinct series for children at the centre. The PAC society is continuing with its TD Kids Series for ages five and up.

The series opens with Axis Theatre’s production of Robinson Crusoe Oct. 16.

The Vancouver-based company is well known in Vernon for their three sold-out performances of The Number 14 and last year’s production of Hamelin.

“Their version of Robinson Crusoe is a tale of survival and self-discovery retold with imaginative physical theatre finesse,” said Kennedy. “This classic story embraces friendship, empathy, self-esteem, communication and cultural differences.”

The action-packed adaptation sees the English sailor shipwrecked on a remote island, working against all odds to turn his unforgiving refuge into a home.

When Axis’ hero saves an Islander from danger, the two strangers develop a remarkable friendship awash with comedic mishaps.

First Stages continues Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. with the beloved stories of Goodnight Moon and the Runaway Bunny.

Presented by Mermaid Theatre, who brought The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Vernon last year, the company uses puppets to bring these cherished stories to life.

“Mermaid’s stage adaptation of Margaret Wise-Brown and Clement Hurd’s classics will bring a new appreciation to stories that have delighted generations,” said Kennedy. “Goodnight Moon is a celebration of familiar nighttime rituals, while The Runaway Bunny’s pretend tale of leaving home evokes reassuring responses from a loving mum.”

The Kids Series continues Nov. 13 with DuffleBag Theatre’s presentation of Peter Pan.

“You don’t just watch a DuffleBag Theatre show,” said Kennedy. “In this refreshing adaptation of the tale of Peter Pan, audience members are invited into the story to play the main parts along with the cast.”

The Kids Series concludes April 30 with Monster Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“This is a brand-sparkling new adaptation of Shakespeare’s whimsical classic about fairies, love potions and talking donkeys, made just for kids,” said Kennedy.

In this version, William Shakespeare acts as a Puck-like emcee who enlists the help of the audience to help him put on a play, using improvisation and the audience’s imagination.

Subscriptions and single tickets are available for either series and can be purchased at the Ticket Seller box office. Call 250-549-7469 or visit ticketseller.ca for more information.