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A modern retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's Classic Fairytale, The Princess & the Pea - A quirky musical comedy for young actors

"Bravo. Amazing - and only in one week!!"
-Lesley Maurer, Parent of 3rd Grader

Check out our detailed video listed below that explains our project, shows the work we've been doing, features the kids we've worked with so far, and demonstrates our fantastic theatre educators and designers. You can also read all about it below!

Who are you?

We’re Compass Creative Dramatics, a children’s theatre that helps kids stretch their creativity and bravery muscles.  Sometimes that means the courage to raise your hand in class or to stand up to a bully. Those things need practice just as much as our physical muscles do. We do this through a week-long theatre program that includes daily rehearsals and interactive workshops.

What’s this Peas & Harmony project all about?

Next summer, we want to provide a series of week long theatre camps where kids will come together and have a blast learning about the art of theatre through rehearsals and theatre-related workshops. Along the way, the kids learn about teamwork, respect, responsibility, caring, and trust, and we hope they leave the week not just excited about the awesome time they had with us, but are also stronger, more compassionate, and ready to step out and lead.

The show we’ll be doing for our camps next summer is Peas & Harmony. It’s a quirky musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Princess & The Pea. It’s different than the story you remember, and in the end it teaches us that showing respect really paves the road to happiness.

At the end of the week, they’ll get two public performances so Mom, Dad, Aunt Susie, Grandpa Joe, and all of their friends can come see the awesome work they’ve accomplished over the week.

 We plan on offering these camps in three cities across the Midwest that helped shaped OUR stories & lead us to where we are today: Bedford, Indiana, where Cassandra grew up, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where Cathlyn's from, and Chicago, Illinois, where we work and play now!

DJ Pea-Peas & Harmony Show Logo
DJ Pea-Peas & Harmony Show Logo

Part of what inspired this project is a campaign we did earlier this fall to capture people's memorable theatre stories from childhood. These stories reminded us of why we started this company in the first place: to give kids an opportunity to grow and play through a program that develops core values – teamwork, respect, trust, responsibility.  Something we learned from these stories we were told, and from our own experience, is that part of what makes theatre so special for kids is the wonder of fantastical costumes, swords that clash, and the magic of it all. And it’s being part of that magic that really helps stretch kid’s creativity and bravery muscles, an open them up to those core values we want them to build.

 Check out the stories we received here:

The short of it:

Character Building Theatre Education + Fanciful Theatrical Elements = A Memory of a Lifetime

Wow, three cities, huh!  How many kids are benefiting from this project?

Across four weeks in these three cities, we have the potential to reach 300 camp participants. Beyond those 300 kids, we’ll be reaching hundreds of other children and their families, who’ll watch the magic from the audience.  And we hope that our camp has a ripple effect – that the kids we work with will leave camp stronger and ready to make a good mark on the world – meaning that the impact of this program can be larger than we can fathom!

The exact when and wheres:

  • Shebygan, WI: Sheboygan County Christian High School June 24-29 
  • Chicago, IL: Nettlehorst Elementary July 15-19
  • Chicagland, IL: TBA Location-Northern Suburb July 22-26
  • Bedford, IN: Bedford Middle School July 29-August-2

So, what do you need all this money for?

Do you want the short list, or the long? 

Camp participation fees cover only a portion of the investment required to make this project happen, so here are some ways that your generous donation will be used to benefit those 300+ kids next summer:

Costume design, set design, teaching artist stipends, gas, costume construction, van rental, venue rental, storage containers, insurance, backdrops, make-up supplies, costume repair kits, quarters for laundry, laundry soap, printer paper, ink, musical arrangement fees, brochures, illustrator fees, study cds, printing costs . . .

We could go on. No really, the list is overwhelming. If you’d like more information on how your donation will be used, we’d love to chat about it!  Drop us a line at

For those who like math though, our goal breaks down to $50 donated per camp participant. For those who really love numbers, we anticipate approximately 1400-2000 people will experience this project from the audience and onstage during our 4 weeks of our project. You don’t have to be a math wiz to realize that that averages to less than $10 donated per person who will be directly impacted by this project.

Ever wondered what happens when people don't get funded? Check out our weekly updates to find out what happens if we don't reach our goal. See our Update #5 below

Update #4 can be seen here:

Update # 3 can be seen here:

Update # 2 can be seen here:

Update #1 can be seen here:

Wow-this project sounds great. How can I help?

You can be a part of this story, because these kids’ stories start with you! You can help us out by donating here on Kickstarter – you can earn great rewards, like an opportunity to vote on our next script, an entry to camp for your son, daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, grandkid, neighbor....okay you get the point, or even bringing a week of camp to your neighborhood!

We also hope that you’ll share this project on your facebook, on your twitter, and with your friends and family by word of mouth.

We believe wholeheartedly in the importance of this project, and in the impact it can have on these kids and on their world.

Cool. Who else is involved in making this project happen?

We teamed up with some talented artists in the field to help us create the magic of our project.  We worked with professionals in Chicago, in Wisconsin, and in California, to put together a professional package for these kids to experience, including original composition, costume design and construction, sound engineering, and set design.

Designers: Kristen Ahern (costumes), Spencer Jones (musical accompaniment), Jimi Bonogofsky (set design, DJ Pea logo), Mel Ruder (sound engineering)
Designers: Kristen Ahern (costumes), Spencer Jones (musical accompaniment), Jimi Bonogofsky (set design, DJ Pea logo), Mel Ruder (sound engineering)

Check out to learn more about our designers.

Costume Renderings by Kristen Ahern
Costume Renderings by Kristen Ahern
Set and Show Logo Sketch Concepts by Jimi Bonogofsky
Set and Show Logo Sketch Concepts by Jimi Bonogofsky

These designs look fantastic- but what about those workshops?  What are they all about?

We want to provide our students not just with play rehearsals – we want them to experience all kinds of elements of theatre during their week.  So each afternoon, they’ll be spending time with working professionals, who’ll teach workshops in topics like Improv, Shakespeare, Stage Combat, Audition Skills, or others!  Here is a smattering of theatre artists who may make an appearance at a camp or two.

Teaching Artists:(row 1) Shelley Nixon, Nick Stockwell, Minita Ghandi, Maggie Scrantom, Krysten Williams, Jon Matteson, Cassandra Quinn, Amy Malcom, (row 2) Angela Alise, Dimokratia Michalopoulos, Dave Smith, Cathlyn Melvin, Dylan S. Roberts, Isaac Samuel, Ellen Cribbs, James Stephani (not pictured) Sharriese Hamilton, Aaron Pagel

You can learn about these artists

Project Background:

What’s YOUR most memorable theatre story? No really---most of us have one. Whether we grew up to be teachers, lawyers, mechanics, or scuba divers—most of us have experienced the MAGIC of participating or seeing theatre in our youth. There are always stats surfacing about how arts education makes a difference, like:

We love stats like these. But who are the PEOPLE behind those statistics??

Earlier this fall, we set out to find the stories behind the stats. We posted on youtube, asking people to share with us how theatre impacted their lives.  People from all over the country told us how theatre helped them overcome shyness, build relationships, and even steered them away from crime.  They shared the joy they felt experiencing colorful costumes, imaginative sets, and fantastical props – how important it was for them to be part of something magical.

In case you didn't earlier, check out the stories we received here:

So, come be a part of this story and help create the magic for hundreds of families next summer!

Thank you so much for your support!

--  Cathlyn and Cassandra

Much Deserved Credits: 

  • The videography for our Script Development Workshop as well as the filming and editing of our Kickstarter video and updates was done by Shane Magwire, Freelance Videographer in Chicago, IL
  • The photography of our Script Development Workshop from Sept 2012 that appear on our Kickstarter, facebook, and website were taken by Kate Karczwerski, Freelance Photographer in Chicago, IL. Please check out Kate's work at or you can contact her at
  • Company Logo created and designed by Chad Bay, FreelanceTheatre Maker and Designer in Chicago, IL

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This method of one week theatre camps where kids go from auditions to performances in a matter of 5 days is not a new concept--its actually a tried and true format that's been used for decades by other theatres. HOWEVER, it is new to the three cities we will be bringing this project to. That means we are testing the waters for the first time in these areas, and though we've done our research, and prepared our homework, we cannot be 100% sure of how well received it will be until we actually try it!

Also, once our goal is met, that means we only have 5 months to get the 100 costumes built, backdrops ready, props made, and camp advertised so we can reach the hundreds of families we hope to impact with this project. We have a game plan to make it all happen that includes professional costume seamstresses, props masters, and marketing consultants. However, we must keep the plan running like a well oiled machine to be sure we have everything in place to magically engage our campers and audiences by June 2013!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    11 backers

    A media thank you! Receive a shout out on our facebook and website because you ROCK for supporting us. EVERY little bit helps and we know that we will reach our goal because of people like YOU!

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    The power is in your hands! You will receive an opportunity to VOTE on the NEXT classic tale Compass Creative Dramatics will adapt into a script and write. What will it be? Will it be The Ugly Duckling, The Wizard of Oz, or Snow White? It's up to our BACKERS! You will also be listed as a Camp Sponsor in the Camp Performance Programs (Summer 2013) and receive our media thank you!

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    You've got MAIL! We'll send you a hand-written thank you card from a camper and camp cast photo from the city of your choice to SEE the kids you helped receive the gift of theatre! (Everyone loves getting mail, right??) But don't worry - you'll also receive the rewards from the level above!

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    You put the FAN in Fantastic! For being such a great fan, you will receive your very own pea growing kit and a digital download of our professional video of one of our camp performances! Growing the peas in your home is simple and with the video and the peas you will have TWO more reminders of how you are helping hundreds of kids grow this summer! You also receive one (1) complimentary ticket to a performance of your choice to see the true reward of your generosity--the kids in action. AND you'll receive all the above rewards!

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    We're holding onto our hats because your AWESOMENESS just blew us away! You will receive a digital copy of our professionally recorded soundtrack from Peas and Harmony, two (2) complimentary tickets to a performance of your choice (Summer 2013) so that you can share the magic of seeing these kids in action with a friend. AND you'll receive all the above rewards!!

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    FREE registration for a kid of your choice (1st grade-12th grade) to any one of our 4 Summer 2013 camps! And of course, you get ALL the above rewards!

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    You're a STAR-which means you will receive a personal invitation to participate in our private first-draft reading and talkback with professional actors of our NEXT script that our backers select by voting! Attending this event allows you to be a of the artistic process, be among the first to hear the script, & have direct input. At this pledge amount you will also receive ALL the rewards from the levels above!

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    At this level you're a ROCKSTAR and you receive FREE registration for FIVE students to attend camp (1st-12th grade). You will also receive ALL the rewards from the levels above (yes...that means this level actually equals 6 slots purchased for camp--the Brady Bunch Family, this is the DEAL for you!)

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    YOU are a SUPERSTAR who just got rewarded a full day of interactive theatre workshops for the school or organization of your choice with workshops that include topics such as Audition Skills, Improv, Stage Combat and more! This level also gets you all the rewards at the $300 level and below! Delivery 2013-2014 school year that fits your schedule the best (does not include travel outside of 250 mile radius of Chicago - but if you can get us there via car, plane, or spaceship, we'll be thrilled to come!)

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    YOU are a MEGASTAR! We will come to your school or organization for a week-long Peas and Harmony Theatre Camp which means YOU just grew our project by one full week and YOU are providing an opportunity for up to 75 MORE KIDS to be positively impacted by participation in theatre and a hundreds of more kids and families to be a part of the magic. (does not include travel outside of 250 miles radius of Chicago or the venue. We are flexible though - the venue can be any large open room, like a cafeteria, a gym, or an auditorium. We can work with nearly any accommodations). This level also gets you all the rewards at the $300 level and below! **Delivery between June 2013 and August 2014 that fits your organization's schedule the best-excluding dates for the current 4 weeks of our project.

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Funding period

- (38 days)