September 23, 2019
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Children Transform to Superheroes at New Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine Action! Headquarters

Community Author: Dianna Fletcher
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PORTLAND —  What if Portland had its own superhero team? Those who will fight crime, protect the city and rescue people in distress? Little do some know, deep down in the Theatre of the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine is a secret lair where heroes are made.

Introducing Action! Headquarters, where kids can become the heroes Portland deserves. Exhibit goers start by choosing a superpower and an outfit to match. They select powerful objects and animal helpers to help them solve problems on stage to save the city from disaster. Those who are more gadget- minded take a seat in the sound cave and follow along with the action by providing epic sound effects.

Alternatively, visitors can be the audience while relaxing on park benches and watching the drama unfold.

The new exhibit is open now for children and families to enjoy. Also, you can join the Museum & Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 26 for a full day of superhero fun.

The goals of Action HQ are:

· To offer more visitors unguided, rich, creative drama play time which fosters social skills such as communication and compassion

· To be engaging, relevant and fun for older kids (age 5-10) and accessible for younger children

· To give children an opportunity to feel empowered to solve problems and help others

· To provide an outlet for creative energy and foster creative thinking through role play

Work on the Action! HQ exhibit first began in the summer of 2018, inspired by the power of children to solve problems and take action in their own communities and the widespread, age-defying popularity of superhero stories. The Museum & Theatre aims to celebrate and empower more young people by giving them chances to make their own heroic persona and try their hands at fighting for the forces of good. To create this new world, exhibit staff worked directly with local Maine comic book artists to develop the characters and imagery featured in the exhibit. The Museum & Theatre often engages local artists to help create components of exhibits such as murals or sculptures, adding a uniquely local and creative element to our home spun exhibits.

“Our Theatre has always been a wonderfully creative play space,” said Chris Sullivan, director of Exhibits at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine. “For this new exhibit, we dug deep into what makes our Theatre fun and engaging and enhanced those elements. The popular soundboard now has Foley sounds such as coconut shells and instruments, as well as electronic noises. Dress up now includes wacky and unique props, and the stage features a puppet theatre that doubles as a set piece.”

“We’ve seen heroes fighting dragons, mediating between squabbling animals, and covering a dull, bland city in a blanket of sparkles. This newly opened exhibit has already proven itself as a center of super imagination,” added Sullivan.

For more special activities relating to this new exhibit, please visit www.kitetails.org.