Shell | Human | Charlotte’s Web | The Warp & the Weft | Bugs! | Failure | Click, Clack, Moo | The Little Red Riding Hood Show

SHELL (2023)

Co-Created by Edwin Salas Acosta and Abby Felder
Directed by Abby Felder

Creative Team:
Caroline Bower (costumes); Danny Gomez (study guide and early childhood consulting); Leo Lei (lights and projections); Alex Smith (set assistant); Šara Stranovsky (music and lyrics); Marie Yokoyama (set)

Olympea, Federica Collina, Gina Cornejo and Edwin Salas Acosta (Asheville cast)

Nehprii Amenii, Jorge Ariel Blanco and Khalilah Smith (New York City cast)

photo by Stephan Pruitt

SHELL is a 20-minute, bilingual (Spanish and English) performance that begins when a snail, Jauncito, arrives in the garden looking for a new shell. Slug is unsure of this new visitor, but during the course of helping Juancito search, everyone in the garden learns that “home” is much more than a house…it is community. Meant to be enjoyed by ages birth – 5-years old / SHELL es una actuación bilingüe (español e inglés) de 20 minutos de duración que comienza cuando un caracol, Jauncito, llega al jardín buscando una nueva concha. Slug no está seguro de este nuevo visitante, pero mientras ayuda a Juancito a buscar, todos en el jardín aprenden que “hogar” es mucho más que una casa… es una comunidad. Diseñado para ser disfrutado desde el nacimiento hasta los 5 años.

SHELL was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

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HUMAN (2022)

Written and directed by Nehprii Amenii

co-produced by Asheville Creative Arts and Khunum Productions

Creative Team:
Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby (original music); Nehprii Amenii, Martha Redbone and Aaron Whitby (lyrics); Amparo Chigui Santiago (choreography); Marie Yokoyama (lights, environment and projections); Joo Won Park (sound design); Dan Jones, April Tillies and Jorge Ariel Blanco (puppet design and fabrication), Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins (early puppet prototypes); Gina Stewart and Brenda Gambill of Jonesalee (musical directors); Dr. Allison Curseen and Philip Santos Schaffer (dramaturgy); Jorge Blanco (stage management).

April Tillies, Joshua Chung, Kaylyn Carter, Khalilah Smith, Olympea, Rebekah Babelay and Tippin. Understudy: Edwin Salas Acosta

photo by Stephan Pruitt

At the bottom of the ocean, where the darkness meets the stars, where humans are extinct and the world as we know it has ended, an Octopus tells the story of a thing once called ‘the human being,’ will it be willing to give up one of its three hearts in order to create a new, more sensitive human being? Will it be willing to give humanity a second chance?

visit our Youtube channel for video introductions to the creative team of HUMAN

HUMAN was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

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Charlotte’s Web (2019)

Terrific Charlotte's Web from Asheville's family friendly theatre company

adapted by Joseph Robinette from the book by E.B. White

Creative Team:
Abby Felder (director), Jonesalee (original music), Edwin Salas Acosta (puppets, sets and costumes), Jason Williams (lights)

Tippin, Rebekah Babelay, Trudy Campbell, Tristan Cameron, Anna Slate, and Asher Leigh as the musician

CHARLOTTE’S WEB is a story about Fern, and her little pig Wilbur who becomes famous with the help of his clever friend Charlotte and their chatty animal neighbors. 5 years since its last production of this beloved family classic, ACA brings its signature style of contemporary and sophisticated storytelling for a fresh, new take on this tale of friendship, sacrifice and growing up.

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The Warp & the Weft (2019)

an immersive theater experience for children and families using live traditional music puppetry and more put on by Asheville's family theater

Creative Team:
a devised piece by Abby Felder (co-concept / director), Dr. Allison Curseen (co-concept), Eva Von Schweinitz (dramaturge), Alex Smith (dramaturge), Rebecca Williams (video), Blakeney Bullock (choreography), DeWayne Barton (lobby installation), Abby Auman (lights), Jonesalee (original music), Kylie Irvin (musical support), and Scott Branson (post-show talk-back curation)

Edwin Salas Acosta, Tiffany Copeland, Olympea, Daniele Martin and Holly Heveron-Smith

Featuring Personal Narratives from: 
Hanger Hall 8th Grade Students, and participants of the Latino youth group MANOS (Mentoring And Nurturing Our Students) a Buncombe County Schools and WWC collaboration.

Post-Show Talk-Backs with:
Juan G Sanchez Martinez , DeWayne Barton of Hood Huggers International, BeLoved Asheville, and Tom Godleski

an immersive theater experience for families of all ages about childhood in the south in textile industries and child labor in agriculture that exists today

Experience the power of personal narrative, the magic of a modern fairy tale, and transcendent vocal harmonies in this 60-minute mosaic of puppetry, live music, video and physical theater, as a troupe of actors share songs and experiences from their childhood then vie for the opportunity to act out their favorite story for (and with!) the audience.

Inspired by images of children in NC’s textile industry at the turn of the century, this performance will encourage the young (and young at heart) to tell their own stories on their own terms.

a family friendly theater piece in Asheville about childhood in the south
funding for children's theater and family friendly things to do in Asheville provided by the NC Humanities Council

The Warp & The Weft is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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BUGS! An Immersive, Original Musical (2018)

children's theater Asheville presents Bugs with puppets and live music for the whole family

by Jonesalee

Creative Team:
Brenda Gambill and Gina Stewart (creators / musical directors), Abby Felder (direction), Blakeney Bullock (choreography), Abby Auman (lights), Alex Smith (dramaturgy), DeWayne Barton (sets), Edwin Salas Acosta (puppets, costumes), Holly Heveron-Smith (video / projections)

Edwin Salas Acosta (Horsefly, Hand Percussion), Holly Heveron-Smith (Mantis, Drums), Jake Donham (Wooly Worm, Keys, Bass), Laura Blackley (Busker Band Leader, Guitar), and Tristan Cameron (Ladybug, Harmonica)

Post-Show Talk-Backs with:
YouthOutRight, Rebecca O’Neill from Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, DeWayne Barton of Hood Huggers International, Shoshana Batson – Peer Support Specialist

Bugs by Jonesalee family friendly entertainment in Asheville

When a band of buskers are magically transformed into insects, they must listen to and learn from one another before being returned to their human form.  Will they? Comprised of a series of vignettes, this immersive musical spectacle observes and explores the tiny, teeming insect world, in a funny and uplifting experience that asks us to pause, look closely and consider the little things.

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FAILURE: A Love Story (2018)

by Philip Dawkins

Creative Team:
Abby Felder with Eva von Schweinitz & Gina Stewart (directors), Jonesalee (soundscape), Alex Smith (dramaturgy), Jason Williams (lights), Chifferobe Home and Garden (set dressing and props), Katie Jones (puppets), Holly Heveron-Smith (video), Flywheel Films (video)

Daniele Martin, Julia Cunningham, Katie Jones, Kelsey Sewell

Post-Show Talk-Backs with: healthcare advocates from Givens Highland Farms, Sheree Boyd and John Shnell, and YouthOutRight.

whimsical, sweetly philosophical…a story about grabbing hold of life and savoring it to the fullest, come what may.” —Los Angeles Times

Through a series of random events that befall the three Fail sisters, Failure: A Love Story shows us how life is both unfair and precious. This bold and quirky modern fairy tale about love and loss leaves audiences with the message, “Just because something ends, that don’t mean it wasn’t a great success.” In its 6th milestone season, ACA showcases its signature style combining lyrical language and sophisticated visual storytelling through live video and found object puppets in a whimsical story that captures how while time is measured consistently by clocks, everyone experiences its passage differently.

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Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (2017)

based on text by Doreen Cronin
with Illustrations by Betsy Lewin
adapted by James E. Grote
music by George Howe
lyrics by James E. Grote and George Howe

Creative Team:
Nehprii Amenii (director, sets and puppets), Anthony Napoletano (choreographer), Gina Stewart (musical director) Gabrielle Tee (barnyard band director), Marie Yokoyama (projections), Anthony Cerrato (lights)

Katie Jones, Anthony Napoletano, Jonathan Santos, Jason Stanley, Gina Stewart

with the Barnyard Band: 
Reed Atherton, Reina Corcoran, Dax Chatham, Grey Chatham, Samantha Yoffee

Post-Show Talk-Backs with:
Rev. Michael Carter – Unitarian Universalist Church, Paul Howey – Fur Kidz Sake, Daniele Martin of Yoga for Women of Color, DeWayne Barton of Hood Huggers, and Sawyer Taylor-Arnold activist and board member of Womens’ March on AVL 

The animals on Farmer Brown’s farm have had enough! They work all day to provide milk and eggs, but when their request for electric blankets to warm the drafty barn is ignored, action must be taken. Join the Cows, Hen, and Duck – and their trusty typewriter – as they engage in peaceful protest to improve their working conditions, in a production that uses projection, elements of puppetry, and protest inspired choreography.

Click, Clack, Moo originally published by Simon & Schuster
Used with the permission of Pippin Properties, Inc.
and is supported by an award from the Puffin Foundation West

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The Little Red Riding Hood Show (2017)

by Russell Davis

Creative Team:
Abby Felder and Katie Jones (directors), Marie Yokoyama (sets, costumes), Rebecca Williams (video), Abby Auman (lights), Jonesalee (sound)


George Awad, Julia Cunningham, Daniele Martin and Tippin

Take one girl, equipped with a basket of goodies. Add one Grandmother, sick in bed. Combine with one Wolf, lurking mischievously. Toss in one skeptical Mother, and let simmer for one hour. Russell Davis stirs the ingredients of this well-loved tale in new postmodern directions, concocting a sly and spicy story that delights children and adults right down to the last surprising bite, addressing social media as the modern day “wolf in the woods.” 

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