New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Horse around, find out more about your family and recreate a favorite story in this Family Activity for Black Beauty! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past posts here on our blog and at

Family Ties

Brothers Andy and Andy McCuddy have a lot in common—they even share a first name! In this activity, find out what similarities you and your family have. 

Use this list to share all of your favorite things and figure what you and your family members have in common.
  • Color
  • Food
  • Book
  • Places you would like to travel to
  • Day of the week
  • Season
  • TV show
A Horse is a Horse, Of Course, Of Course

Andy and Andy McCuddy are performers who act in a type of show called pantomime, or panto. In this activity, learn a little bit more about panto and then try out what the McCuddy brothers do for a living. 

Materials: A blanket and an object you can find in your home that represents a horse tail (like a mophead or scarf)

Step One: Have you ever heard of panto? In the U.K., panto is a form of interactive theater, performed during the Christmas season to entertain millions of families. A panto is a traditional fairy tale complete with songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and LOTS of audience participation. It's a wonderful way to entertain kids, involve them with the characters on stage and encourage them to cheer. Because panto works on two levels, there's plenty for the adults to enjoy as well.

Watch some panto! When you watch, look out for how the audience watches and interacts with the performers. 

Step Two: The McCuddy brothers are the front and back of a panto horse. A horse is common character in a panto show. A panto horse (there are also panto cows and other animals) is a horse made by two actors in a single costume. One actor plays the front end, including the horse's head and its front legs. The other actor, playing the rear end of the animal, must bend at the waist so that his torso is horizontal like that of a horse and put his arms around the waist of the first actor. 

Watch a panto horse prancing around in the U.K. for inspiration! 

Now it's your turn to become a panto horse! Using a safety pin attach a "tail" to one end of the blanket. Find a partner and put a blanket on top of you. 

Step Three: Have fun horsing around! Practice walking together and try the following:
  • Can you neigh?
  • Can you eat hay from the ground?
  • Can you trot?
Holy Foley

In the show, the Andys find their mom's favorite book, Black Beauty, and decide to act it out. In this activity, read and make the sound effects for your family's favorite story! 

Materials: Favorite books, items you can find in your home that make noise

Step One: Talk about your favorite family stories. Is there a story that you and your family love to read together? Is there a book that you always want to hear at bedtime? What are your adults' favorite stories?

Here are some of our favorite stories for inspiration!

Little Red Riding Hood
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Gruffalo
Goodnight Moon
Where the Wild Things Are

Step Two: Choose a story you would like to play with and decide who will be the reader. Everyone else will listen and make sound effects.

Step Three: Go around your house and collect things that make noise, like forks, bottles or a boot. 

Step Four: Read the story and add in sound effects at appropriate moments. Think of where the story is taking place and the actions that are happening on each page. If someone is walking, how can you make that sound? If it's raining, how can you make that sound? 

Step Five: How does adding sound effects change the story?
Long Lost First Play Thumb Saddle up and jump headlong into a tale where loneliness gives way to hope, friends become heroes and courage saves the day! Get your tickets today!

Posted by Beth Henderson

Give yourself a Shakespearean look, play a "Bard Game" with family and friends and put your own twist on some Shakespearean classics in this Family Activity for William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged)! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities here on our blog and at

Ruff Around the Edges

In this activity, you'll create your very own look inspired by the Bard himself. 

Materials: Coffee filters, stapler, scissors, hole punch, string

Step One: Measure your string so that it comfortably fits around your neck with a little bit of room. 

Step Two: Fold your coffee filter in half and then fold it in half again. 

Making the Ruff

Making the Ruff

Step Three: Staple the side that isn't ruffly, approximately 1.5 inches from the edge.

Making the Ruff

Step Four: Make a hole using your hole punch or scissors on the bottom corner of your filter, below the staple. 

Making the Ruff

Step Five: Cut off the pointy bottom of the folded coffee filter 

Making the Ruff

Step Six: You will repeat steps one to five as many times as it takes to fill the string around your neck with coffee filters. Think of it like making a necklace! Loop all of your folded coffee filters onto your string and tie the string around your neck. Fluff out the ruff, and tada! You're ready to write your next play. You could even wear your new ruff to William Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged)!

Making the Ruff

Making the Ruff

The Bard Game

This is a game made of mini-Shakespearean challenges that are very similar to games that you already know and love. Get ready to challenge with your family, using your wit and imagination!

Materials: Bard Game Template, game cards, scissors, timer

Step One: Print out the following The Bard Game

Create your own cards for the "Who Am I?" and "How Many Can You Name?" challenges. Fill these in with your own ideas.

Step Two: Learn how to play the game and create your cards.

Game Rules: 
  • This is a two player game. Once completed, the next player can challenge the winner! The youngest player begins the game.
  • The first player moves to the first place and plays the mini challenge indicated on the space.
  • If you win the mini game, you move forward. If you do not win, then you stay to try again during your next turn.
  • The first player to get to the end wins.
Mini Challenge Rules:

Who Am I?
  • Set your timer for 60 seconds.
  • Pick up a card and place it on your forehead (no peeking!)
  • The other player gives you clues about which Shakespearean character is on your card. They're not allowed to rhyme the name or spell it out.
  • If you guess it before the 60 seconds are up, move to the next space!
How Many Can You Name?
  • Set your timer for 60 seconds.
  • Pick a card and read the number and category written on it. Then, list subjects from the category. How many? As many as the card indicates! Imagine that it says "six heroines." You would then list six of Shakespeare's heroines—Beatrice, Hero, Juliet, Portia, Titania and Viola
  • If you can name the amount written on the card, move forward!
  • Each player gets a card.
  • Set your timer for 60 seconds and begin the battle. The player whose turn it is goes second in this challenge.
  • Players must explain why and how their character will win a duel with the other, based on creative thinking and the information on the card. 
  • The one with the most believable story is victorious!
  • EXAMPLE: I pull up a Juliet: Poison card. My opponent pulls a Hamlet: Knife card. My opponent argues that Hamlet would win over Juliet, because of his weapon. I will argue that Juliet poisoned him before the duel even began!
Step Three: Challenge your family and friends. 

Say It Like You Meme It
In this activity you will read some quotes from Shakespeare's best known plays and put your own twist on them.

Step One: Pick one of the following Shakespearean quotes

Quote Bank: 

"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die: to sleep;"
—Hamlet, Hamlet

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
—Polonius, Hamlet

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."
—Macbeth, Macbeth

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go."
—King Claudius, Hamlet

"Ay me, for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth,
But either it was different in blood—"
—Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind."
—Helena, A Midsummer Night's Dream

"One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun
Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun"
—Romeo, Romeo and Juliet

"Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."
—Juliet, Romeo and Juliet

Step Two: Move around the word order or add some words of your own to completely change the meaning.

Real Quote: "Good Night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow." Juliet, Romeo and Juliet
New Quote: "Night, night! Partying is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say night night till it be morrow."

Step Three: Think of a character from any of your favorite books, movies or TV series saying the new quote you just created. Search an image of that character, save it and put into this meme generator with the new quote your created. How much did the quote change now? 

Long Lost First Play Thumb That's right, the "Bad Boys of Abridgement" are back! Uproarious and rapid-fire, the Reduced Shakespeare Company makes sharp, short comedy in their latest sendup, spinning the Bard's 39 plays into a fast, funny and fictional 40th. Get your tickets today!

Posted by Beth Henderson
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