Sonja Parks in "Seedfolks." (Photo by Dan Norman)
After a 19-year hiatus, the Children’s Theatre Company is taking its act overseas.
The company announced Wednesday that it will bring “Seedfolks,” a one-woman show that premiered in Minneapolis in 2014, to a big international youth theatre confab in South Africa this spring.
CTC is the only American company invited to perform at the world conference of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People in Cape Town, which takes place May 17-27.
A stage adaptation of Paul Fleischman’s Newbery Medal-winning children’s book, “Seedfolks” is comparatively small to tour. Versatile actor Sonja Parks plays 14 people in a struggling immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland. The residents learn about each other and get closer because of their work in a community garden.
The last time CTC sent one of its shows abroad was in 1998, when it took Dr. Seuss’ “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” to Japan. But the company did not give up touring in the intervening years. In fact, it has sent shows around the country, increasing its tempo in recent years. Its stage adaptation of “Akeelah and the Bee” premiered in fall 2015 and transferred to Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage shortly thereafter, where it was well-received.
“Seedfolks,” in fact, has played in Chicago, San Diego and other cities, and has upcoming tour dates booked for Seattle and nine theaters in greater Minnesota.
“It is a humbling honor be selected to represent the United States … and also to be asked to bring our productions to regions outside the Midwest,” artistic director Peter Brosius, who also directs “Seedfolks,” said in a statement. “As the nation’s leading producer of theatre for young audiences, it is important for us to be able to continue to expand the canon, create a higher aesthetic and bring absent narratives to the stage.”