Blog: Kids Help Tell the Tale at Storytime! Beauty and the Best

Young audience members use their imaginations, body movements and voices to help bring to life a classic French fairy tale in the Hedgerow Theatre for Kids production of Storytime! Beauty and the Beast, which runs on Saturdays at 11 a.m. from July 18 to August 22.

The show is a new addition to the popular interactive series, with a script written by Hedgerow Fellows Colleen Marker and Josh Portera. They drew from several variations of the story, including the original 1740 version La Belle et la Bête by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and a later 1756 retelling by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. “Most kids today know the story mainly from the animated feature,” Marker explained, “so we’ve included a few elements from that so they recognize it, while also remaining true to the traditional tale.”

Marker and Portera narrate the story, and also play several parts, making quick costume changes. Marker portrays Belle and the fairy, Portera is Belle’s father and the Beast, and they take turns as the voice of a magic painting. The children assist by providing ideas for inventions Belle’s inventor dad can make, making the magic sounds when the fairy casts a spell, and roaring for the Beast.

Later, the audience members get to create a story or two of their own, providing suggestions for characters, locations and objects to Marker and Portera, who then improvise a new play on the spot.

Marker has been involved in several of the earlier Storytime! productions, while this is a first for Portera, who is a recent addition to the company. A graduate of Muhlenberg College with a degree in theatre, he has been involved with Hedgerow’s camps since his arrival in May, and he also appeared on stage in Post Haste.

Storytime! Beauty and the Beast runs less than an hour and is suitable for children ages 3 and up. It is also possible to book a performance at the theatre for groups or tours to schools or daycare centers. To arrange a tour, contact Group Sales Manager Art Hunter at 610-565-4211.

Tickets are $10. Hedgerow Theatre, America’s First Repertory Theatre, is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media). For more information or to order tickets, call 610-565-4211 or visit