The Arkansaw Bear
by Austin Playhouse

Oct. 08 - Oct. 15, 2016

(poster: Austin Playhouse)The Arkansaw Bear by Aurand Harris, the most produced playwright for young audiences, is a marvelous and daring play that tells the story of a little girl named Tish, who has just discovered that her grandfather is dying. She runs away to her special tree, wishes upon a star, and escapes to a fantastical world of music, magic and dance. There she meets the world’s greatest dancing bear, who is also running away from death. In trying to help him, Tish begins to understand the meaning of life and death and learns how to cope with her own sadness. 

The Arkansaw Bear is directed by Lara Toner Haddock and stars Michael Stuart as the world’s great dancing bear, Kenedi Delgado as Tish, Marie Fahlgren as the Arkansaw Bear, Zac Thomas as the Mime, Jess Hughes as Star Bright, and Stephen Mercantel as the Ringmaster.

Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock says, “I saw The Arkansaw Bear at the Cincinnati Playhouse when I was eight years old. I still remember being completely entranced by the story. What I loved then and continue to love about the play is that it takes children and their feelings seriously. It’s dealing with death, but makes the point that death is part of life and those we love live on through us; that we honor their memory by living good lives. And it gets this huge idea across with humor and love and a little magic. It’s a fantastic play to introduce children to the power of theatre. And I think it’s a wonderful choice to kick off our Theatre for Youth program.”


(photo via Jess Hughes, Austin Playhouse)

Aurand Harris was one of America’s foremost playwrights for young audiences, acclaimed for upgrading the genre and writing entertaining children’s stories that dramatize universal truths. Harris’s plays sweep audiences into new worlds that are full of humor, magic, and fun--all the while teaching important life skills that help as children grow and navigate obstacles.

Austin Playhouse believes that an early introduction to theatre helps students learn creativity, social skills and critical thinking. Students should be challenged to actively listen, imagine new worlds, and relate to the struggles of characters on stage. At its best, theatre introduces new cultures and ideas, as well as new ways of looking at our own culture and ideas.

Because Austin Playhouse believes cost should not be a factor, all performances of our Theatre for Youth productions are free.

The Arkansaw Bear is targeted to grades 2 - 6, but is appropriate for the whole family.

Austin Playhouse’s 2016-2017 season opens with Lauren Gunderson’s luminously beautiful and historical play Silent Sky, September 23 - October 16, 2016, followed by two Texas premieres:Baskerville by Ken Ludwig, November 18 - December 18, 2016, a farcical reimagining of the most famous Sherlock mystery, and then the bittersweet time-travel tale, Bloomsday by Austin playwright Steven Dietz, January 13 - February 5, 2017. In the spring, audiences will be treated to Arthur Miller’s rich and timeless drama Death of a Salesman, February 17 - March 12, 2017, and delighted with Kate Hamill’s audacious adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, March 31 - April 30, 2017. The golden age musical comedy, Guys and Dolls with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, will conclude the season from May 26 - June 25, 2017

Austin Playhouse is a professional theatre currently performing its 16th season. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Don Toner and Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock, Austin Playhouse has grown from a three-play season on the campus of Concordia University, to a year-round operation producing an average of eight plays a year. Austin Playhouse is currently performing at the Austin Community College Highland campus. The theatre has recently been renovated to include an expanded lobby, rehearsal hall, and restroom facilities.


The Arkansaw Bear
by Aurand Harris
Austin Playhouse

October 08 - October 15, 2016
Austin Playhouse
6001 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX, 78752

 October 8, 9, 15 at 2:30 pm, October 10 at 11 am; school performances October 3-15.

Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus

6001 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78752, South Entrance


TICKETS: FREE, reservations recommended

BOX OFFICE: Call 512.476.0084 or online at