Timeout New York Kids

Make the most of your city

Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

The popular Brooklyn institution has revamped their family programming and added tons of new festivals and performances for everyone from toddlers to teens.

  • Photograph: Isaiah Singer

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    Blown Away by Poetry at BAMfamily Launch Party: Down the Rabbit Hole

  • Photograph: Nicole Brodeur

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    Story Pirates at BAMfamily Launch Party: Down the Rabbit Hole

  • Photograph: Marc-Antoine Duhaime

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    Theatre Tout a Trac's Alice in Wonderland

  • Photograph: Beowulf Sheehan

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    BAMkids Film Festival

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    School Break Program: Pilobolus for Kids

  • Photograph: Annie Tiberio Cameron

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    Charlotte Blake Alston

  • Photograph: Courtesy of Compagnia TPO

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    Kindur

  • Photograph: Carlos Herans

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    In the Garden

  • Photograph: Fiora Watts

    Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

    KindieFest

Photograph: Isaiah Singer

Family programming at BAM gets a makeover for 2013

Blown Away by Poetry at BAMfamily Launch Party: Down the Rabbit Hole


For the last few years, big dreams for little kids have been taking shape in Brooklyn. As the blueprints were being drawn up for an ambitious expansion plan at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Suzanne Youngerman, the center’s director of education and family programs, was secretly scoping out festivals and performances, creating a dream roster of concerts, plays and readings for everyone from toddlers to teenagers. Finally, those dreams are coming true: The new BAMfamily program launches this month. “We’ve had the film festival and one or two annual family events each year, but we’ve always wanted to do a full program,” she explains, promising that the lineup includes everything BAM is known for. “I looked for programs that are international, innovative, experimental and edgy—but in an age-appropriate way.” Here’s what to expect.

Brand-new digs
The key piece in the puzzle fell into place last September, with the grand opening of BAM Fisher, the new facility around the corner from BAM’s Peter Jay Sharp Building (and just blocks from the Barclays Center, which opened the same month). “Part of the plan with the new building was to make it a home for more family programming, and to keep prices low to make everything more accessible to the community,” says Youngerman. BAM Fisher includes a 250-seat theater, studios, classrooms and a rehearsal space.

An opening party
To kick off the new slate of programs, BAMfamily is hosting a launch party called Down the Rabbit Hole on Saturday, January 19, from noon to 4pm. Everyone is invited to come dressed as their favorite character to the storybook-themed event, which will include performances by the Story Pirates, Blown Away by Poetry, a sing-along, and a marathon of readings by children’s authors and illustrators. Thanks to the sponsorship of Target (their neighbor across the street), the party is free.

Programming for a wider range of ages
In the past, BAM has attracted plenty of six- and seven-year-olds to its film festival, and has inspired high-school students at workshops based on the adult offerings on its main stage. It was getting the kids in the middle that was the problem. “We really wanted to round out our schedule with offerings for kids in elementary and middle school,” says Youngerman. A perfect example, she explains, is Mur-Mur, from the Canadian Dynam-O Theatre (May 18). Recommended for kids ages 7 and up, this piece tells the story of two teenage couples and their pesky younger brother through gymnastics and acrobatic dance. Also geared specifically toward tweens is a spring-break workshop with the renowned dance troupe Pilobolus (March 25–28, ages 8 to 11, $300). “We had a pilot program last year, and the parents wouldn’t let me leave the building until I agreed to do it again this year!” laughs Youngerman.

Not one, but two film festivals
For 15 years, the two-day BAMkids Film Festival (Feb 2–3; BAM Rose Cinemas) has been a favorite for little movie lovers. However, Youngerman found that with its kid-party atmosphere (face-painting, balloons, and performances from bands such as the Deedle Deedle Dees and Suzi Shelton), the festival was beloved by children only up to about age ten. “Once they hit 11, they don’t want to hang out with the little kids anymore,” she explains. The solution: Give the big kids their own festival. The new Big Screen Bash (April 20–21; BAM Rose Cinemas) will show not only professional features and shorts about teenagers but also movies made by New Yorker teenagers.

Offerings as diverse as the borough itself
In keeping with the international flavor of all of BAM’s programming, the family offerings include the French-Canadian company Théâtre Tout a Trac, which uses puppetry, masks and wordplay to tell the tale of Alice in Wonderland (Jan 26–27); Charlotte Blake Alston, an award-winning storyteller using the African and African-American oral traditions (Mar 3); Compagnia TPO, from Italy, which presents Kindur (Mar 23)—three dancers acting as sheep bring children onstage and lead them through a fairy-tale landscape of volcanoes, glaciers and meadows (the digital backdrop changes depending on the kids’ movements); and Spain’s Teatro Paraiso Antzerkia, which performs the wordless In the Garden for kids ages 1 to 4 (May 3-5).

Tunes from family bands
This year, popular music festival KindieFest (Apr 28) comes to BAM for the first time; last year's show was at Littlefield. Performers aren't confirmed yet, but except some of the best in the business (shows in previous years have included everyone from Moona Luna to KBC Kids).

For more information on the new family programming at BAM, go to bam.org.


Share your thoughts
  1. * mandatory fields

Events for kids by date

Americangirl.com for Events!

  1. "The ABC of It: Why...

    The main branch of the NYPL is playing host to an ...

  2. Aladdin

    Charming street urchin Aladdin brings his exotic w...

  3. "Alice's...

    Curious kids can journey into Lewis Carroll's whim...

61 more events »