Storybook Theatre of Hawai’i – Background and Objective
Storybook Theatre of Hawai`i (STH) was founded in 1979 by a group of University of Hawai`i Theatre Program Master’s graduates who recognized the need to present educational programs to young people in engaging, creative ways. The main organizational purpose of STH is to create, produce and distribute educational children’s presentations and materials that focus on building stronger families and communities through environmental awareness, literacy, health & wellness, and peace-making skills. STH is led by a ten-member volunteer board of directors. Currently STH engages six contracted staff members and six volunteers who devote time to various projects on a weekly basis. The staff and volunteers are managed by founder and executive director Mark Jeffers, a thirty year veteran of designing educational experiences for young people and families. STH is operated out of Hanapepe, Kaua’i. For its headquarters, STH renovated a nationally registered historic site ravaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992– the Sun Ke Heong/Obatake Building—which has become a centerpiece of ongoing neighborhood revitalization and an exemplary model of a community facility serving young people and their families. Local families and island visitors also enjoy STH’s recently completed Spark M. Matsunaga International Children’s Garden for Peace, dedicated to the late Kaua‘i native’s peace-enhancing skills while serving in the United States Congress and Senate. STH provides educational programs developed by professional artist educators through venues of the performing and visual arts, radio, internet & television media, and live events. Since 1997 the organization has been producing the "The Russell the Rooster Show" (the Show) on Kaua`i. The Show airs throughout all of Hawai’i, several U.S. mainland cities, and in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. It is estimated that the audience market base has grown to more than 800,000 viewers. The Show has served to educate children in a wide array of areas, including native species, solid waste management (reduce-reuse-recycle) and greater environmental awareness. Children assist in the production of the Show on both sides of the camera, using state of the art equipment donated by Kaua’i resident and loyal STH supporters Susan and Graham Nash, formerly of Crosby Stills, Nash & Young. STH has also partnered with Kauai’i Community Radio (KKCR) to produce The Children’s Earth Count. The hour-long live radio hour, now in its third season, is designed for children and families on issues important to our keiki (children) and the ‘aina (land). Other STH regular program offerings include the annual Princess Ka`iulani Keiki Festival, Hanapepe Walk and Talk-Story Tour, Forest Akamai Education Camp, and families are always In addition, STH has also produced numerous traveling educational programs presented live in schools throughout all of Hawai’i, the greater Pacific region, as well as the U.S. mainland.