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Fall Mainstage

The Grumpiest Boy in the World by: Finegan Kruckemeyer Nov. 17-19

Directed by Julianne Lang | Produced by Josh Krivan

Recommended age range: Royal Purple (Grades 1-3)

Winter mainstage

Robin's Hood by: Anne Negri - Feb. 23-25

Directed by Meredith Shadle | Produced by Jenna Levine

Recommended age range: Purple Mountains' Majesty (Grades 4-6)

Spring festival

9th Annual PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works

PLAYground is an annual event which showcases the work of three professional Theatre for Young Audiences playwrights. These plays are full-length and brand-new, and we invite any and all of you to come and be a part of their development. In addition, we also have speakers and workshops throughout the day, focusing on modern day issues in the world of TYA.


Yasmin's Alien Invasion Adventure by Paco José Madden  

Directed by Vanessa Strahan

Stories in our Stars by Jeremy Schaefer

Directed by Michael Herwitz

Meet Me at the Gates, Marcus James by Donna Hoke

Directed by Grady Jensen


Date: April 15th, 2017

Location: The Great Room, 610 Haven St, Evanston, IL 60201

For more information, see our "PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works" page. 

If you want to learn more, please contact our literary manager at

Artistic Director's Note

Insights on Our 2016-2017 Season From Artistic Director Rebecca Elowe


“Theatre for Young Audiences is Theatre for All Audiences”


As the Artistic Director of Purple Crayon Players, I am thrilled to welcome you to our 12th season of productions, events, and educational programming with, by, and for young audiences!


Each year, Purple Crayon Players chooses one aspect of our mission to be the focus of the season. In the past couple years, we have focused on accessibility, engagement, and expanding our audience. And now, for our 2016-2017 season, we turn the focus to our motto, “Theatre for young audiences is theatre for all audiences” and zoom in on the first half when considering our artistic choices. This year, Purple Crayon strives to emulate our motto to the fullest and put the focus of our art on our young audience. We want to create art that will inspire youth – inspired young people make the world better. With youth in the foreground of Purple Crayon’s mind, my mind has been cycling through the art that inspired me growing up, and I have noticed that my favorite stories have two important themes in common. First, adventure: I loved them because of the adventure. I loved to follow the extraordinary paths of typically ordinary protagonists, feel my heart race in their moments of struggle, and imagine the adventures that I would have too. Second, compassion: in each of my favorite stories, I gathered something new about human relationships. I saw different relationships unfold, good and not so good, and through these stories, I decided what kind of friend and human being I wanted to be. In a world where hatred and divisions can overshadow opportunities for human connection, I am delighted to inspire a new generation with a season that is filled with adventure and compassionate voices.


We begin our season in the fall with Finegan Kruckemeyer’s The Grumpiest Boy in the World. Kruckemeyer, originally from Ireland, has had 79 commissioned plays performed on five continents and translated into six languages. We are excited to tell Finegan’s story of Zachary Briddling (who is hopelessly middling) and his ordinarily extraordinary adventure. As Kruckemeyer says, “He sets out…to stand out.” This play celebrates similarities and differences between people (and creatures) and explores connections created from both avenues. Also in the fall, with this imaginative and vivid script as an example, we will hold a playwriting workshop for local kids, an opportunity to hear and bring out the stories young people want to tell.


In the winter, we are proud to present our touring show: Robin(‘s) Hood, a new play written by Anne Negri and commissioned by Purple Crayon Players. Anne Negri has already presented multiple plays at past PLAYground festivals with Purple Crayon, one of which (With Two Wings) was our fall mainstage production in 2013. She is also a local Evanston drama teacher. We cannot wait to share with you her new take on the classic Robin Hood tale, which will feature a strong female protagonist. Additionally, this winter, we will bring back our “Think it, Plan it, Make it,” event where young people can explore the behind-the-scenes elements of theatre, such as stage management, set design, and lighting design.


We will close out our mainstage season in the spring with the 9th Annual PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works, our nationally recognized celebration and workshop of new plays for young audiences. PLAYground is often our favorite time of year, as it brings together voices from all over the United States (and the world!) for a week of exploring and discussing the current world of Theatre for Young Audiences. Finally, with our last event of the year, we will also bring forth new voices in TYA by presenting theatre WITH young audiences – we can’t wait to work on a play with young actors, another chance to hear and encourage their voices.


I cannot wait for the adventure of this season to begin. On behalf of Purple Crayon Players, I invite you join us as we play, discuss, question, and connect.


Excitedly yours,

Rebecca Elowe

Artistic Director, Purple Crayon Players