Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Youtheatre travels from England to Arendelle to Narnia

Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published May 23, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

With their successful performances of The Commedia Rapunzel closing their 84th season, Fort Wayne Youtheatre took that opportunity to announce the upcoming 2019-20 season, one which is sure to delight audiences of all ages.

Leading off the season will be the world premiere of The Wind in the Willows, performed October 4-6 with an additional sensory-friendly performance following the October 6 matinee. The show, based on the Kenneth Grahame novel, will be adapted and directed by Youtheatre executive and artistic director Todd Espeland with performances at the ArtsLab.

Youtheatre’s holiday show is sure to be a sellout with the Disney production of Frozen Jr., directed by Youtheatre’s assistant director Christopher Murphy. It’s easy to imagine an audience filled with young ones dressed as Elsa and Anna when the show takes the First Presbyterian stage December 6-15 (with a Breakfast with Santa performance on December 14).

The Linda Ruffalo Young Heroes of Conscience Series will put the spotlight on the civil rights movement with Building the Dream: MLK, Jr., a play written by Espeland and Gregory Stieber and directed by Stieber. Performances will take place February 7-9 at the ArtsLab.

The season winds down in May with the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Bringing the magical world of Narnia to life will be director Murphy with performances once again taking place in the ArtsLab May 15-17.

In addition to their regular season performances, Fort Wayne Youtheatre also tackles shows that travel to area schools, libraries, and community venues, and in the coming season look for WYTR Halloween Tales, a spooky radio show reenactment coming in October, The Brothers Grimm coming in February and March, and finally Stories from the Arabian Nights coming next June and July.

An added treat this year for Youtheatre fans will be its collaboration with Fort Wayne Civic Theatre in the production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. With director Murphy at the helm and a cast of young actors needed, Youtheatre will make its mark with this musical production which runs February 15-March 1 at the Arts United Center.

Dragon Boat Races on the rivers

With the exciting developments along the Riverfront, there are more ways for area residents and fitness enthusiasts to enjoy life on the river.

The new Promenade Park, its opening delayed until early August, will be the launch point for the fifth annual Fort Wayne Dragon Boat Races. The event features not only the race but also many family-friendly events throughout the day.

Don’t know where to begin when it comes to dragon boats? Riverfront Fort Wayne has the answer to that. An introductory paddle course will be available with sessions running July 23-August 8 at Guldlin Park for a nominal fee of $5 per session. Additionally, there will be Intro to Kayaking sessions July 6-August 31 for $25 per session.

Check out Fun Times, the schedule of summer events for Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department, for a complete schedule of classes and events.

Bird Lovers on the trails

Those who prefer terra firma are well familiar with the ACRES Land Trust, an elaborate and ever-growing trail system for hiking throughout the state.

Some of the really beautiful trails are very close to — or even right in — Fort Wayne with Bicentennial Woods at Cedar Creek an especially lovely example.

Their website contains information throughout the year about upcoming activities, and a popular event in the coming weeks will likely be the Third Annual Bird Blitz, where bird lovers and watchers can indulge their love of birds between dawn to dusk June 2-8 at any ACRES preserve. Some trails will also feature bird watching with Audubon birders at specific times.

For a complete schedule and registration information, visit

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