Three Minutes, Three Questions Kassie Misiewicz, Trike Theatre

Three Minutes, Three Questions  Kassie Misiewicz, Trike Theatre

When Kassie Misiewicz founded Trike Theatre in 2008, she had a vision of a professional theater for youth that could “tell the unique stories of the community, develop innovative arts programming, and be a driving force in strengthening the area’s professional arts industry” — and she thought Northwest Arkansas was the perfect incubator to grow it. Fast forward 12 years, and it’s obvious her instincts were spot on: Trike delivers a dose of theater arts to more than 20,000 people a year, travels throughout the state, visits schools and helps to train arts educators and young thespians alike. The theater recently announced its 2020-21 season, and Misiewicz, who serves as artistic director, answered some questions about managing a theater during a global pandemic.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the process of figuring out what Trike productions would look like post-pandemic?

A. We believe that theater is not transactional, but rather a shared, creative experience with the artists and audience. During the pandemic, our desire to connect to and nurture our relationship with youth and families has led to the development of participatory virtual production experiences. We believe that theater is created with our audience, like a conversation. The 360 Trike-sperience is our fullest realization of this. We present a play and provide additional literacy and social emotional learning participatory opportunities that expand our young audiences’ experience. Then, it’s the youths’ turn to create and respond to Trike Theatre, which culminates in their creative response to the play (Trike’s “Watch Me”) so that Trike can be the audience, virtually. The 360 Trike-sperience offers flexibility because groups, schools and families can purchase the experience and engage with it on a day and time that works best for them.

Q. With many area school kids attending virtual school and missing out on socialization/in-person learning, did that make the services Trike offers more important and, if yes, why?

A. It’s crucial our young people feel a part of a community! Psychologists have said that long stretches of isolation can increase depression levels, especially in youth. So creating virtual opportunities for youth to connect and create together has been our No. 1 priority. Our staff has reimagined our young actor training programs and created iCademy: our virtual camps, classes, Youth Theatre productions and one-on-one private lessons. These virtual educational programs ensure we reach our young people and provide a community — where they feel safe, can be themselves and create something together.

Q. I know that Trike’s productions and ancillary offerings are based on educational research; how does the 360 Trike-sperience fit within that research-based model?

The 360 Trike-sperience is rooted in arts-in-education research and best practices. The pre- and post-show workshops and retelling materials are modeled off of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, a national leader in Pre-K arts programming. Their early research established that using performing arts strategies in classroom content instruction improves students’ language and literacy skills. The 360 Trike-sperience expands the Wolf Trap model by incorporating a professional theater performance, which is recorded because Northwest Arkansas schools are not taking field trips or allowing for outside artist visits at this time. The 360 Trike-sperience is created for schools and families, and invites the adults to participate alongside their child. Big Thought, a Dallas non-profit dedicated to closing the opportunity gap by improving education, believes that arts experiences build creative capital, and community involvement plays a key role. We are excited to … continue to re-imagine our 360 model of see, learn and do.

Kassie Misiewicz, artistic director and founder of Trike Theatre, is pictured here in pre-covid-19 days, leading a pre-show experience with kindergarten students. Trike Theatre has developed an online curriculum until live theater is possible again.
(File Photo/David Gottschalk)


Trike Theatre

Free on YouTube

“La Tortuga and the Hare” — 3 p.m. Jan. 23

“Turning Red: Learning to Choose Love” — 3 p.m. April 10

School/Group Performances

“Three Billy Goats Gruff” — Through Nov. 20 (with Live With Trike workshops) & Nov. 23-May (without workshops)

“La Tortuga and the Hare” — Jan. 25-March 12 (with Live With Trike workshops) & March 20-May (without workshops)

“Turning Red: Learning to Choose Love” — April 12-May 14 (with Live With Trike workshops) & May 17-May (without workshops)

COST — $100/up to 20 students; $40/household


Categories: Family Friendly