LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A children’s nonprofit in Las Vegas, with a mission to cultivate a child’s imagination through theater, celebrates four years in June.
Ants in the Pants Productions has been bringing to life the creative playwrights of kids across the Las Vegas valley since 2017. Plays likes "The Cursed Necklace" and "Turtle Town" are shows written and produced by the students in school, then their works are performed on stage by professional, adult actors.
“I really like how you can create anything you want about a topic,” said Sophie Brown, a writer with Ants in the Pants. “It could be totally crazy, and that fits in really well.”
The organization began as an activity for local parents, but it snowballed into a year-round production company. Founder and Executive Director Rebecca Kernes says the writing is a release. She said allows the children to express themselves in a way that was more significant than what the parents could have expected.
“Clearly, some of these plays are about what’s happening in the children’s lives,” Kernes said. “We had to deal with a lot of kids sort of being depressed in a way, even if they didn’t know they were, because, you know, you lost your friends in a sense, you couldn’t go see them safely.”
Pushing through more than a year of quarantining, Ants in the Pants found a way to continue operating for the children.
“We turned to creating videos instead of doing live theater shows, so at least they still got to see their stories come to life.”
Plays like "The Alien" and the "Duck and Sean the Mage Meets his Greatest Enemy" were among the few videos produced through the pandemic. Pivoting to this style of production allowed the students to stay connected to their friends and continue expressing themselves through writing.
“I really liked how you could create stories with other people, and even when you’re not together, it’s really fun to share ideas, and just talk to other people about writing, it’s just so nice,” Sophie said.
Ants in the Pants Productions donates a portion of the tuition money to their scholarship program giving a chance to children of all economic backgrounds to participate.