Childsplay Presents The Yellow Boat

Childsplay Presents The Yellow Boat

When The Yellow Boat first premiered in 1992, it changed the face of children’s theatre across the country. Since then, the play has won awards, been produced all across the world and even translated into different languages. This iconic story, written by Childsplay’s Founder David Saar, will be introduced to a next generation of audiences this spring in honor of the company’s 40th anniversary season.

A Scandinavian folksong tells of three little boats: “One was blue, one was red and one was yellow as the sun. They sailed far out to sea. The blue one returned to the harbor. The red one sailed home, too. But the yellow boat sailed up to the sun.” Based on a true story, The Yellow Boat tells the story of a young artist named Benjamin. Born with hemophilia, Benjamin died of AIDS-related complications in 1987 at the age of 8. Through his art, Benjamin is able to express his joys and his fears. In doing so, he navigates his journey, leading his family, friends, doctors, and the audience through this amazing, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always heartfelt experience. This multi-awarding winning show celebrates Benjamin’s remarkable voyage and the creative spirit of all children.

Performances of The Yellow Boat will be held at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, February 26 through March 12, 2017, Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $12 and are on sale now at or at the Tempe Center for the Arts Box Office (480) 350-2822 (ext. 2). The play is recommended for ages 7 and up.

Childsplay’s Artistic Director, Dwayne Hartford, will direct the show after having played the role of Father in the 1992 and 1993 premiere productions. He is thrilled to be returning to this beautiful story, which has been described as “a show about a boy who lived.”

The 4 p.m. performance on Sunday, February 26 is a special $12 Storybook Preview performance, sponsored by The Steele Foundation. Each family that attends this General Admission preview performance will receive a free book. This production of the The Yellow Boat is sponsored by The National Endowment for the Arts.

The Yellow Boat cast features Rudy Ramirez as Benjamin, Katie McFadzen as Mother, Kyle Sorrell as Father, Debra K. Stevens as Joy, Michael Thompson as Eddy, Osiris Cuen as Chorus and Thomas Strawser as Chorus.

Directed:  Dwayne Hartford

Original Music:  Alan Ruch

Scenic Design:  Carey Wong

Costume Design:  Kish Finnegan

Lighting Design:  William Kirkham

Sound Design:  Chris Neumeyer

Stage Manager:  Sarah Chanis

The Yellow Boat was written by Childsplay Founder David Saar.



About Childsplay:

Childsplay, Inc. is a nonprofit theatre company of professional, adult artists who perform for and teach young audiences and their families. The mission of Childsplay is “to create theatre so strikingly original in form, content or both, that it instills in young people an enduring awe, love and respect for the medium, thus preserving imagination and wonder, the hallmarks of childhood which are keys to the future.” For more information, visit 

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  1. Scottsdale, AZ… I was privileged to work this show when it was first produced by the young boy’s father. I was a techie behind the scenes filling in temporarily for a couple shows. Wonderful message, beautifully presented. So glad to see it back in the spotlight.


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