Culturally Rich, Diverse Stories Spotlighted in 2nd Annual Festival for Young Audiences
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CHICAGO - illiNews -- A child with no memory lost at sea, a balloon afraid of soaring through the clouds, a splash of Black Girl Magic. Welcome to year two of Make/Believe, a theatre festival that challenges its young audiences to indulge their imagination and open their minds to all the beautiful, complicated ways life presents itself.

"Make/Believe includes the type of complex storytelling modern children expect from their entertainment," said Maria Burnham, Make/Believe curator and producer. "This is theatre with a message, with deeper meaning, with conflict of morality; it is a reflection of the life they see around them every day."

Last year's Make/Believe festival proved wildly popular, with both shows selling out. While the move to a digital presentation was necessitated by COVID-19, the added benefit is there is no limit to the number of people who can attend and participate.

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"While we've lost some of the magic that comes with being together, we've also loosened the barriers about who has access to both do and see theatre and that isn't a bad trade," Burnham said.

The six stories that make up this year's Make/Believe festival are filled with young people, plants and a puppy who must face great obstacles to discover who (or what) they're meant to be. From the Filipino-American girl who is trying to find her way home in Sunshine and the Sea of Lost Things to the pink hydrangea that knows it was born to be blue in A Blue Hydrangea, the protagonists in these plays face the types of struggles children will recognize from their own lives.

"For me, the opportunity to direct for Ghostlight Ensemble is an opportunity to show children that grew up like me that there is a place for them in theatre," said Rashaad A. Bond, director of Best Friends. "It is an opportunity to show them stories they can relate to not just because they are universal truths, but because the people they're watching look like them as well."

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Make/Believe takes place Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6, 2021, at 2 p.m. The performances will also be available to stream on-demand through Sunday, July 4.

More information is available on Ghostlight's website at

Nightlight is Ghostlight's young audience series with original, adapted and forgotten plays geared toward children and the adults who love them. Ghostlight believes theatre can be a beacon for children, letting them know they aren't alone in the world, giving them a sense of security and revealing the truth that in stories they can be anything they want to be. You're never too young – or too old – for a nightlight.

Maria Burnham

Source: Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre Co.

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