The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party, a seasonal rite of passage for countless Chicago toddlers and their parents, returns to Chicago Children’s Theatre November 20-December 24, marking the return of live performances at Chicago’s largest professional theater devoted to children and families.
Now in its seventh year, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party has become a popular seasonal tradition for Chicago families looking to introduce their children to live theater.
(left) Kay Kron, in the 2018 outing of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party inviting kids on stage to meet puppets, pull levers and turn cranks that produce moments of delight. (right) After photos with the cast, families head to Chicago Children's Theatre's lobby to enjoy cookies and chocolate milk in a tea party setting. Photos by Charles Osgood.
Some families come dressed up in their holiday finest, while others come just as they are. Either way, young and old alike enjoy this incredibly charming, meticulously designed puppet show starring Beatrix Potter’s favorite animal friends. The Chicago Reader called CCT’s holiday experience for Chicago’s littlest generation of theatergoers “dazzling, brisk at under an hour, and sweet as can be.”
Watch in awe as a cast of three multi-talented performers bring four Beatrix Potter tales to life in this adorable, mesmerizing, interactive trunk and puppet show, accompanied by a live, original classical music score. CCT’s charming storytellers interweave classic narration and guide gentle interactive moments, recruiting young watchers to join the adventure. This year’s version stars four of Beatrix Potter’s most adorable animal friends -- Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Simpkin the Cat, and for the first time this year, Tom Kitten! Families will watch in awe as the cast shares favorite Beatrix Potter family tales, manipulating ingenious mechanical “suitcase sculptures” packed with cleverly designed 3D puppetry meant to surprise and delight.
After the stories, families are invited on stage to explore the trunks, pull the levers and turn the cranks that reveal magical 3D images. After photos with the cast, families come together in a Victorian-style dining hall to enjoy a festive spread of cookies, chocolate milk, coloring activities and beautiful holiday decor.
The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party is presented as a limited engagement, weekends only, November 20-December 24. Show times are Saturday and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Press are invited to attend either show on Saturday, November 20.
Additional holiday week performances are Thursday and Friday, December 23 and 24 (Christmas Eve) at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Run time is 60 minutes with no intermission.
Single tickets start at $42 including the show and tea party. For tickets, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call Chicago Children’s Theatre Guest Services, (312) 374-8835. Don’t delay as performances do sell out. Email email@example.com or to learn about group rates.
Please note: Chicago Children’s Theatre is a “no shushing” theater.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is located at 100 S. Racine Ave. in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. CCT is minutes from I-90 and I-290, as well as downtown and Ashland Avenue. It offers free, onsite parking on the south side of the building. Nearby street parking is available on weekends, or try the Impark parking lot, 1301 W. Madison St.
After photos with the cast, families come together in a Victorian-style dining hall to enjoy a festive spread of cookies, chocolate milk, coloring activities and holiday decor.
Access Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12
CCT continues to grow its commitment to all Chicago children at The Station by expanding services for patrons with disabilities. Access Weekend is December 11 and 12. Services include:
ASL interpretation and Open Captioning
Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12
Sunday, December 12, before the 9:30 a.m. show
Saturday and Sunday, December 11 and 12
Click here for these and many more photos of the 2018 production of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Please credit Charles Osgood.
Covid safety policies
Alongside a growing coalition of more than 65 performing arts venues and producers across Chicagoland, Chicago Children’s Theatre has agreed to ensure COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for everyone 12 and over - audiences, artists, and staff. These protocols are subject to change; for more information about CCT’s current COVID-19 safety protocols, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org/covid.
Behind the Scenes of The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party
Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Beatrix Potter series is devised by Will Bishop, Lara Carling, Kay Kron, Grace Needlman and Ray Rehberg. Co-directors are Will Bishop and Lara Carling. Performers are Kay Kron, Time Brickey and Charlie Malave. Puppets are by Grace Needlman. Music is by Ray Rehberg. Costumes are by Ian Liberman, based on the original designs by Jillian Gryzlak. Lighting designer is Becca Jeffords. Sound designer is Daniel Etti-Williams. Anastar Alvarez is stage manager.
The holiday production’s sister work, Beatrix Potter & Friends, has been performed at schools, libraries, cultural institutions around the city, and toured in 2019 to the 9th Annual China Children's Theatre Festival in Beijing and Jinan.
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) was a British writer, illustrator and conservationist best remembered for her best-selling children’s books that combined her love for animals and the English countryside. During her childhood in England’s Lake District, she looked after many animals including rabbits, frogs and even bats. She drew these animals throughout her youth, gradually improving the standard of her drawings. In her 20s she sought to try and get her children’s book and drawings published. Her initial attempts proved unsuccessful, but she persevered and eventually her first book “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” was published in 1902, when she was 36. Today, “Peter Rabbit” is one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. In sum, Potter wrote 24 books. Some of her best known titles include “The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle,” “The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan” and “The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher.” For more information, visit the Beatrix Potter Society, beatrixpottersociety.org.uk.
Coming soon to Chicago Children’s Theatre
With the new year comes the world premiere live production of Leonardo and Sam, based on the beloved children’s books by Mo Willems, created by Chicago’s wildly inventive Manual Cinema (January 29-February 27, 2022). Next, dreams will come true in the spring when CCT presents the world premiere of Carmela Full of Wishes, adapted from the book by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street), (April 23-May 22, 2022). Single tickets are on sale now at chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
New virtual productions set for release in 2021-22 include The Relocation of Nokwsi, a new Native American-themed video by Robert Hicks Jr. dropping October 11, 2021, in celebration of National Indigenous People’s Day, This Ability by Daniel Carlton and Nambi E. Kelley, set for release December 3, 2021 in celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and more Walkie Talkies audio adventure podcast tours through Chicago’s many neighborhoods.
About Chicago Children’s Theatre
“The Chicago theater scene is legendarily vibrant, so naturally a number of companies tailor productions to younger audiences. The cream of the crop is Chicago Children’s Theatre.” – Chicago Tribune
Chicago Children’s Theatre was founded in 2005 with a big idea: Chicago is the greatest theater city in the world, and it deserves a great children’s theater. Today, Chicago Children’s Theatre is the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families. CCT has established a national reputation for the production of first-rate children’s theater with professional writing, performing, and directorial talent and high-quality design and production expertise.
In January 2017, the company celebrated the opening of its new, permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, located at 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop community. The building, formerly the Chicago Police Station for the 12th District, was repurposed into a beautiful, LEED Gold-certified, mixed-use performing arts, education and community engagement facility that now welcomes all Chicago families.
CCT provides tens of thousands of free and reduced-price tickets to under-resourced schools each season in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. CCT also continues to grow its performing arts and STEAM education programs, offering classes, workshops, winter and spring break camps, and summer camps for ages 0 to 14.
In 2019, Chicago Children’s Theatre won the National TYA Artistic Innovation Award from Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. In addition, Chicago Children’s Theatre has garnered six NEA Art Works grants, and in 2017, became the first theater for young audiences in the U.S. to win a National Theatre Award from the American Theatre Wing, creators of the Tony Awards.
Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2021-22 Season of Resilience is supported by Goldman Sachs, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Polk Bros Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince, Bayless Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Rea Charitable Trust, ComEd, US Bank, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The Susan M. Venturi Fund in memory of James and Roslyn Marks to Support Theatre Education Accession, and Erin and Jason, Ben, Bici and David Pritzker.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is led by Co-Founders, Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and Board Chair Todd Leland, with Board President Armando Chacon.
For more, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org.