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Mama Goose Project

The Mamá Goose Project was a multi-faceted school and community arts education initiative and research project emanating from the UNC Charlotte Department of Theatre.  It involved numerous campus and community connections that fall into three broad efforts: Research/Evaluation, Community Engagement/Educational Outreach, and Production.  At the heart of the project is a theatre adaptation of Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy’s book, Mamá Goose: A Latino Nursery Rhyme Treasury/Un Tesoro De Rimas Infantile.  The bilingual play (with music and dance) for 3-to-7-year-old audiences was performed by UNC Charlotte actors at schools, libraries, and community locations across the Charlotte metro area in April 2013, particularly targeting locations serving culturally diverse, economically challenged monolingual and multi-lingual populations. 

Adapted for the stage by UNC Charlotte Assistant Professor of Theatre Education Beth Murray and Irania Macias Patterson, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Bilingual Program Specialist, Mamá Goose weaves nursery rhymes into a story about sharing. Four cousins find a large and mysterious egg – surely a treasure – and each in turn tries to hide it and claim it for his own. But Abuela, the children’s grandmother, helps them to see that selfishness is like a monster: in the end, “ours” is better than “mine.”

The 30-minute production includes original music by Criss Cross Mangosauce  and choreography by Dr. Donna Dragon, assistant professor of dance education at UNC Charlotte, in collaboration with local teaching artists, Brenda Giraldo and Niché Faulkner. Assistant Professor of Theatre Jeanmarie Higgins is the production dramaturg.

In addition to performances in local pre-schools and elementary schools, there were seven free public performances.

Mamá Goose Educational Outreach/School Performances

Wednesday, March 20 at 3:30-5pm – Teacher & Librarian Professional Development at ImaginOn
Friday, April 5 at 8:00 am – R. Brown McAllister Elementary, Cabarrus County (TBA)
Friday, April 12 at 8:00 am – University Meadows Elementary School
Friday, April 12 at 9:30 am – Charlotte Bilingual Preschool
Friday, April 19 at 8:30am – Holy Comforter Bilingual Preschool
Friday, April 19 at 9:30 am – First Ward Elementary School
Friday, April 26 at 8:15 am – Joseph W. Grier Elementary School
Friday, April 26 at 9:40 am – Collinswood Language Academy

Mamá Goose Free Public Performancesperformance of Mama Goose at University City Library

Friday, April 5 at 10 am - University City Library
Saturday, April 13 at 10:30 am - Mint Museum, Randolph Road Location
Saturday, April 13 at 12:00 pm - Independence Blvd Regional Library
Saturday, April 13 at 2:00 pm - Beatties Ford Road Branch Library
Saturday, April 27 at 11am - ImaginOn
Saturday, April 27 at 2 pm – Black Box Theater, Robinson Hall, UNC Charlotte
Sunday, April 28 at 2 pm – Black Box Theater, Robinson Hall, UNC Charlotte

In conjunction with the Mamá Goose project, authors Alma Flor Ada  and F. Isabel Campoy visited Charlotte on April 18. Their visit included appearances at Joseph W. Grier Elementary School, Library Early Literacy Story Time at the Latin American Coalition, a presentation in the UNC Charlotte College of Education, and a colloquium on engaging diverse child audiences in Robinson Hall.

The Mamá Goose Project addresses the following overarching research questions:

  • How does an inter-cultural exploration through the arts of bilingual Latino children’s literature mediate stakeholders’ perceptions of language, culture, and literacy?  What are the perceptions of long and short-term impact from a variety of stakeholder perspectives?
  • What do the varied processes (research, script development and production, outreach) teach participating bilingual and monolingual teachers, community programmers, artists, and researchers?  What are the implications for best practices, assets/needs identification, and future study in the ongoing effort for critical, global arts-based education and inquiry?

The presence of varied faculty working alongside community artists to realize a production and tour, design, and deliver outreach programming, as well as research and evaluate the project, creates an authentic artistic context from which research can emerge in varied forms, filtered through multiple perspectives, aimed to be shared in academia and beyond, into the community. 

Mamá Goose was presented in partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and was funded by the College of Arts + Architecture and the Department of Theatre, with support from the Chancellor’s Diversity Fund and the Office of International Programs. Additional collaborations include the Latin American Coalition, the UNC Charlotte College of Education, and the Latin American Student Organization.