The Little Prince opens at the Chemainus Theatre July 14. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Little Prince stirs the imagination in all ages

KidzPlay series show opens July 14 at the Chemainus Theatre

The Little Prince is one of the most cherished stories of all time and lands on the Chemainus Theatre Festival stage this summer for families to enjoy during matinee shows running July 14 to Aug. 5.

The Theatre’s 2018 KidzPlay series show coincides with the 75th anniversary of the fanciful tale. Originally published as a novella in 1943, The Little Prince was written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a pioneering aviator, after he escaped the fall of France during the Second World War. It is thought to be inspired, in part, by his own experience of being stranded in the Sahara Desert in the 1930s.

When a pilot crashes his plane in the Sahara, he meets a young prince from a distant planet. The Little Prince recounts his adventurous explorations and the wondrous creatures he has met. The fantasy story is woven with riddles and poetic metaphors, including good seeds, bad seeds, a search for sheep and a philosophical consideration of thorny flowers. Together, the pilot and the prince discover about being unique and what it means to truly love.

The Little Prince reminds us it is only with the heart that one can see rightly and what is essential is invisible to the eye, inspiring us to explore the world through the eyes of our own inner child. The classic tale illustrates that personal growth requires active exploration of the world around us.

“The story is a curious one with beautiful hand-crafted puppets, live music and engaging performances,” added Chemainus Theatre Festival artistic director Mark DuMez.

“It investigates ideas of journey, playfulness and loving someone special, even at great cost, in a colourful and imaginative way. Kidzplay shows are an important part of Chemainus Theatre Festival programming which builds community, gives the region access to professional theatre and engages the arts for many ages.”

In addition to selling more than 200 million copies of the book to date, The Little Prince has also been adapted as an animated film. It is the most successful French animated film abroad of all time.

The Little Prince continues to be a family favourite and although it may have been written for young children, its themes of friendship, authenticity and charity resonate with deeper meaning to all ages. The tale is a spirited celebration of wide-eyed childhood adventures and the unjaded wisdom of children.

Adapted for the stage by Roderick Glanville, the cast features Madeleine Humeny as Little Prince and David Radford as the pilot and others. The creative team for this production includes: director Glanville, composer/musician Oliver Swain, puppet designer Pamela Stringer, set designer Barbara Clerihue, lighting designer Adam Wilkinson, projection designer Jarod Crockett and stage manager Lois Dawson.

For tickets, call the box office at 1-800-565-7738 or go online at chemainustheatre.ca.

Meanwhile, Grease is continuing in prime time at the theatre throughout the summer until Sept. 1.

It’s already been playing to large audiences and rave reviews in its first month on the stage.

The timeless classic is worth seeing again, even for those who already know the story well and are familiar with all the songs.

Three more shows remain on the calendar for 2018 after the conclusion of Grease.

Glorious runs from Sept. 14 to Oct. 6 and Outside Mullingar from Oct. 19-Nov. 3. Both those shows have limited engagements that will require people to get tickets early so they don’t miss out.

That leads into the Christmastime blockbuster. This year’s production of Little Women begins on Nov. 16 and concludes on Dec. 30.

Sometime in the fall the theatre will also announce its lineup of shows for the 2019 season.

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