Prime Stage brings Narnia to life for Pittsburgh’s young audiences

Photo above courtesy of Prime Stage Theatre.

The writer C.S. Lewis once said that the more imagination a reader has, the more that reader will do for himself. The folks at Pittsburgh’s Prime Stage Theatre seem to agree. They bring works of literature to life on stage, helping students to fuel their imaginations and fall in love with the power of storytelling.

Their upcoming show is a vivid production of Lewis’s classic story “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” running March 3 through 12 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m.) at the New Hazlett Theater Center for the Performing Arts on the Northside.

Families can choose the sensory-inclusive performance happening on Saturday, March 11 at 2:30 or the audio-described and ASL-signed show on Sunday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m.

Another option: Attend on March 4 and stay for a post-show audience discussion with Dr. David von Schlichten, Dean of the School of Humanities Seton Hill University.

Gathering Advice and Creative Insight

Prime Stage, now celebrating its 26th season, prepared this production with advice from James Como, an international scholar and expert on C.S. Lewis’s work. The theater’s staff, cast and designers met virtually with Como during the rehearsal process and he shared insights on why certain characters were created in the story.

The real-life wardrobe that prompted the story was made by Lewis’s grandfather and Lewis would climb into it along with his cousins at the family home in Belfast. According to a cousin, the children would sit inside it as young Lewis would tell the other children stories he had invented.

“As the director, I’m excited to bring The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe to life and engage audiences of all ages as we stimulate their imaginations and make this a wonderful experience at the theatre,” says Wayne Brinda, Prime Stage Theatre’s producing artistic director and co-founder of the company.

Want to learn more about the show? Watch this interview with actress Rachel Pfennigwerth, who plays Queen Jadis, also known as the White Witch.

Looking for more fun things to do with kids? Check out our guide to 16 awesome March events for families (many of them free!).