Event Details
  • Non-members, please pay at least $7 to help keep us running.
    October 28, 2022
    5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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More Than Child’s Play: TYA As an Educational and Cultural Tool
Friday 10/28 2022 at 5:00 eastern time

Community Gathering on Zoom - register with the bright red reservation box to receive the Zoom link. These gatherings are a service for the theater community and are offered free for TRU members; we ask that non-members help keep us running by making a donation or joining as a member.

In the room: Khalia Davis (she/her), a multidisciplinary artist recently named Artistic Director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre; and Mara McEwin (she/her), Artistic Director, Co-Founder of Treehouse Shakers, as well as a writer and director. A passionate discussion about why Theater for Young Audiences is important, how it supports healthy growth and development of young audiences and shapes future generations of theater-goers. Mara and Khalia will share their thoughts about attracting and serving the youth market and the specifics of their companies' aesthetics, as well as efforts to be more inclusive in youth theater and all theater. We will also touch on their reponses to COVID, how they survived shutdown and their current plans for coming back to live performance.


    is a multidisciplinary artist recently named Artistic Director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre where she led the premiere of A Kids Play About Racism, based on a kids book about racism by Jelani Memory, creating a new hybrid between live theatrical storytelling and film. This work brought together over 40 theater producing partners and was viewed on Broadway on Demand nearly 80,000 times. Past BACT directing credits: award-nominated world premiere, She Persisted the Musical, based on the popular children’s book by Chelsea Clinton, Frog and Toad, Judy Moody and Stink and the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt. NYC directing credits: Atlantic for Kids, NYCCT, Disney Theatrical Group. Produced a children’s web series chronicling the experiences of a little Black puppet girl named Nia living through the COVID-19 pandemic with Kids at Heart Productions. Before assuming her new role as Artistic Director, Ms. Davis served as the Director of Inclusion and Education with Brooklyn Children’s Theatre restructuring their children’s musical theater programming through an anti-racism lens. Awards: 2019 Emerging Leader Fellowship-TYA/USA, 2019 NYCCT Leader Fellowship, 2021 Corey Medallion Award-Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. BA in Theater Arts-University of Southern California.


    is the Artistic Director, Co-Founder and writer, and director. Mara has produced, written, directed and sometimes performed in all of Treehouse Shakers’ 18 original dance-plays including Hatched, which is recognized as being the first dance-play for babies to tour the U.S. by an American artist/company. She has created ongoing arts in education programming for preschools to colleges, and led numerous teaching artist and classroom trainings throughout the country for the past 25+ years. During the pandemic, she helped to quickly transition the company to virtual programming. During this time Treehouse Shakers’ created Pillow Fort, for ages 3-7, a 9-part mini-series to engage young people through the arts at home, and movement series to be streamed into the classroom called Dance Break. Also a Storyteller, Mara was named “Best Storyteller of New York” by NY Press and has performed throughout the nation’s schools, festivals, theaters, colleges, and community events. She is the featured teller for F.I.T’s Toy Design Department and Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, as well as Baby Gap, Miramax, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Turtle Pond Publications, Chocolate Sauce Publishing, The Tribeca Film Festival, to name a select few. She is a writer, voice-over artist and story consultant for Activity Works, an interactive educational video-web series for classrooms across the U.S. She was the subject for a qualitative dissertation on the inclusion of storytelling in the classroom by Dr. Barb O’Neill and a featured 2019 speaker for O’Neill’s Transform Challenging Behavior Conference, the AATE 2021 National Conference, and the Theatre and Dance for the Very Young Conference in 2022. Mara co-created Niñopalooza an all day rock concert for kids and Niño Nada, a summer festival of children’s work that was acclaimed by the New York Times. Favorite acting credits include Bloomsday on Broadway with Stephen Colbert and Alec Baldwin, which aired on NPR as well as The Sandpiper at Symphony Space, NYC. She has performed with companies such as Manhattan Theatre Club, Playwrights Theater, Eugene O’Neill by-the-Sea- Festival, Chekhov Festival, among many others. She has worked in film, print, television and commercials. Mara is a former long-term board member on the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), NYC Storytelling Center, and serving on the School Leadership Team at Metropolitan Expeditionary School Leadership School in NYC. To read more about Treehouse Shakers visit treehouseshakers.com.