In 1998, we began this flagship series as a one-time event, but because of the success of it, we continued it as an annual series. Since then, we’ve presented 82 different shows in this series. Our original graphic designer, Yvette Clark, came up with the concept of the Explorer theme. Her concept was to have an Explorer character open each show. At first we resisted this concept because of the need for an extra actor each week. But Yvette talked us into it, and we are so glad she did. We created the character of a 19th Century Explorer, who would introduce each show with a story merging the value of art with a current world event. Past Explorer monologue topics have included the Arab Spring, the recession, and even the space shuttle disaster the year that it happened.
The best thing about the Explorer Series from our perspective, is that it has allowed us to bring cutting-edge performers to our North University Park neighborhood. Our Explorer audiences are a great mix of neighborhood residents and city-wide audiences. It has also featured many performers who have never performed for young audiences before, thus introducing these professional artists to a whole new demographic.