Small Talk with Sesty: David Saar of Childsplay

Posted on: September 25, 2013

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Robin Hood is currently playing at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

When people think of Tempe, a few things immediately come to mind.  Mill Avenue, ASU and Tempe Beach Park are some of the obvious ones.   One aspect of Tempe that sometimes gets overlooked is its dedication to the arts.  We have museums that showcase priceless works of art and theatres whose stages entertain visitors of all ages.

Childsplay, located at 900 S. Mitchell Dr. in Tempe, is known both nationally and internationally in the theatre community.  For almost 40 years, they’ve called Arizona home and have ranked as one of the premiere kids activities in Phoenix.  Childsplay was started by David Saar in 1977.  Today, he’s their Artistic Director, where he chooses new plays, works with the artists and helps in the development of new performances.  He even sits in the director’s chair from time to time, usually about 2-3 times a year.

Years ago, David was studying at ASU, getting his MFA in Child Drama.  He loved performing in front of children and they were his favorite audience.  He sees performing for children as a way to empower and make them feel valued. It’s this that gave him the idea to open Childsplay, a performance theatre that is strictly for kids.

Unlike other theatres in Arizona, most of the shows that Childsplay features are created in house.  That means everything from writing the script to set design are all done through them.  If they commission a play themselves, the entire process can take anywhere from 2-3 years.  Once everything is completed, there’s an additional 5 weeks of rehearsals and previews before the performance is ready for the public to view.  This all caught me by surprise.  I always thought the shows were performed by a traveling company.  It’s incredible to think about the amount of time that is put into each show and makes me appreciate them more as well.

To say that Childsplay is full of creative minds is an understatement.  They’ve created over 50 new shows and are known nationally for their work and have won numerous awards in the process.  Their most recent show, Robin Hood, a modern take on the classic, is drawing great reviews.

Childplay performs at the Tempe Center for the Arts, an amazing venue on Tempe Town Lake.  “We’re incredibly happy in our new home at the TCA,” says Saar.

For more information about Tempe events, be sure to visit our website or call 800-283-6734.


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