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First Works for Kids and Adults


FirstWorks is one of the many things I love about Providence. This amazing organization brings an array of arts to our city twice a year for kids of all ages to experience. Dedicated to firsts, FirstWorks’ mission is to connect arts to audiences – from kids appreciating the arts for the first time to artists premiering new works in our city. The festivals are full of innovation and unforgettable performing arts.

Months ago, I mentioned what a fan Kidoinfo is of the FirstWorksKids festival in June (a free day jam-packed with music, dance, crafts, theater, and more for kids). Well now it is time for the annual FirstWorksProv Festival. Although this festival is geared towards a slightly older audience (tweens and up), it offers something for everyone. At Kidoinfo we love the creative, learning time we spend with our kids, but we are also adults who need to feed our own creative souls.


Read on for your Kidoinfo guide to the 2007 FirstWorks Festival:

FirstWorksProv Festival: September 29 – November
Location: Downtown Providence performance spaces including PPAC, VMA, RISD Auditorium, Pell Chafee Performance Center and Beneficent Church.
Tickets are required for many of the events. Prices range from $18 — 50 with student rush the hour beforehand. Passes for the entire festival as well as group sales are available.
Visit FirstWorksProv or call 401-621-6123 (ArtTix).

Some of the FirstWorks shows have entertainment beforehand, called JumpStarts. These events start at 7:15, run about 45 minutes and are free and open to the public. Treat your kids to dinner downtown first (try Union Station, Cilantro’s, AS220, Tazza, or the Cheesecake Factory). A perfect cultural kid outing before their bedtime! We started taking our boys when they were three and they have loved the performances – from bands on stilts to African drumming and dazzling dance demonstrations. And if your kiddos can stay up past their usual bedtime, Pilobolus will be a visual delight. Or venture downtown and check out the Pixilerations Show – a gallery showcase of digital art – on display during the entire festival. Who knows — maybe your kid will be creating new media art in the near future!

JumpStarts Schedule:
Start at 7:15 pm and run until just before 8pm
– Friday, September 28 – outside RISD Auditorium (pre-Haale show)
Traditional Iranian music played by Baha Sadr and friends.
– Saturday, September 29 – outside PPAC (pre-Pilobolus show)
The always entertaining, irreverent and goofy What Cheer? Marching Brigade and see live statues with installation artists from Ten31 Productions.
– Saturday, October 13 – outside RISD Auditorium (pre-Old Trout Puppet Workshop)
The Gnomes, a local group, will perform an energetic blend of Celtic and World Music.
– Saturday, November 3 – outside VMA (pre-Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co.)
The sweet sounds of gospel, sung by the New Providence Harmonizers.

Pixilerations [v.4] (September 28 through October 13)
Installations exhibited in two spaces in downtown Providence:
– Sol Koffler Gallery (in RISD’s Center of Integrative Technology Mason Building) –
169 Weybosset Street
– The Space at Alice – 70 Eddy Street

The following performances are perfect to share with your older kids. Pilobolus (you may have seen them on the 79th Annual Academy Awards), an internationally known dance troupe that will mesmerize you with their signature entangling of bodies and inescapable energy, Bill T. Jones pushes the boundaries of modern dance through unconventional collaborations, and the East Village Opera Company is a powerhouse five-piece band, a string quartet, and two outstanding vocalists that bring opera into the 21st century.

– Pilobolus (Video preview and more…)
Saturday, September 29, at 8 pm
Providence Performing Arts Center
220 Weybosset Street, downtown Providence
Tickets $25 – $45
(401) 421-ARTS

– East Village Opera Company (Audio clips and more…)
Saturday, October 6, at 8pm
Providence Performing Arts Center
220 Weybosset Street, downtown Providence
Tickets: $20 – $50
(401) 421-ARTS

Time to get a sitter or call the grandparents. Check the full lineup at FirstWorks and pick your favorite must sees. Plan to have dinner or drinks downtown before or after the show – our city has a fab selection of cool dining spots for every budget. Near PPAC: Local 121, AS220, Brava, or Tazza. Near VMA: Try the hip new Temple bar and restaurant in the renovated Masonic Temple at 120 Francis Street.

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