Random Acts of Silliness Offers Fun Arts Activities For This Summer
photo: Loneman Photography
Children’s thoughts on what a rainbow unicorn likes to eat for Sunday brunch can offer the jumping off point for a full-fledged theatrical story for the Random Acts of Silliness kids improv group, according to performer Kyrie Dawson.
“Kids’ improv is more about bringing these stories to life. We really lean into suggestions from the kids in the audience,” she said.
“People really come for the fun and the magic that’s created with it. It’s a great way to say yes to what’s happening.”
The Bozeman-based kids theatre and arts company Random Acts of Silliness was founded last spring by Danielle Thomsen, who also acts as the organization’s event producer and an actor. Since their start, the group has hosted free outdoor kids’ improv shows and organized art experiences for the community in public spaces. They’ve featured the whimsical themed work of local artists in their Flutterby Thicket Fairy Village on Gallagator Trail and Menagerie of the Imaginary at Story Mill Community Park.
“Random Acts of Silliness is really about bringing joyful experiences to families during the pandemic,” Dawson said.
Thomsen had previously been involved in Bozeman’s theatre community and said that she and others had always wanted to host outdoor shows and “create joy.” The restrictions of the pandemic offered an opportunity to capitalize on that desire and allow her and other artists to safely continue their craft.
“Something that’s brought me a lot of joy is finding a way for artists to keep working together and creating in the last year,” she said.
The shows and art displays have also been a welcome fun activity for local families and individuals during the pandemic.
“The improv show we did last summer was really well received. We heard a lot of gratitude for getting to do something silly, something that felt safe,” she said. “(And) everyone from two to age ninety has enjoyed the menagerie and the fairy village.”
“Sitting in the fairy village and listening to the sounds of children, adults and families experience it and (their) joy was one of the best feelings I’ve had in my entire life,” Thomsen said.
Given the community’s positive reaction to the display, the group has decided to plan another fairy village this year. The 20-23 original fairy house creations will inhabit the paths at the East Gallatin Recreation Area late this August.
Bozeman artist Tamara Knappenberger will be one of this year’s Fairy Village artists and is crafting a fairy planetarium and observatory with help from her kids. She said she’s excited to be involved as the organization helps bring the community together to “be happy for a little bit.”
“I think everybody gets a chance to pause and kind of let their imagination run free and stop thinking about all the things that are bothering us,” she said.
The return of the fairy village isn’t the only activity Random Acts of Silliness has planned. They’ll also be hosting a Troll Tromp in June at the Bozeman Pond. Trolls, made from reclaimed cardboard and pallet boards, will be hidden around the park for visitors to seek out. As is the case with several of their experiences, this will be offered in partnership with the Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department and Gallatin Valley Land Trust.
“Both organizations really realize that our parks and public lands are an extra important resource right now and having art experiences in them help new people engage with them and help the community engage with them in a new way,” Thomsen said.
Also planned for this summer is “Enchanted Forest: Pick Your Path,” an improvised outdoor theatre experience. The show is slated to run twice daily on July 17and 24th, as well as at the Sweet Pea Festival (pending it occurs this year).
Dawson, who will also be co-directing the production, said it will be a choose your adventure style tale that is centered around its enchanted forest setting.
Audience participation is paramount to this show’s success, so she encourages folks to attend and help them create an original story together.
“We need the imagination, we need the creativity of the Bozeman community to help us bring kids’ dreams to life,” Dawson said.
Although the group is not just for kids.
“Random Acts of Silliness helps everybody to get in touch with their inner child,” she said.