History of Talespinner Children's Theatre

Talespinner Children’s Theatre was founded in 2011 by Alison (Ali) Garrigan. After many years of dreaming of a professional children’s theatre for the young people and families of her community, the moment that put things in motion came about at a Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) artists’ meeting, when Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan, asked what was missing from the theatre world of Cleveland. “A professional children’s theater” was the resounding response. Ali knew it was time to go to work, creating “something that was smart and unique, a place where children would be honored and engaged, as well as a place where artists could have a voice, stretch and grow.”
Talespinner’s first season included two productions: Tale of the Name of the Tree, and the Magic Flute. For the first ten years of Talespinner’s existence, we produced exclusively world premiere, original works, all by playwrights from Cleveland and its surrounds, creating a space by which we have been able to intentionally foster local talent and artistry. Talespinner has been the home for more than 40 new plays in the ten years since, both on our main stage and in our touring productions, and we look forward to continuing to support amazing contributions to the world of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) as we enter our second decade. 
We are also excited to begin producing existing work from the field of TYA! As Cleveland’s only dedicated professional children’s theatre, we are honored to be able to bring some of the excellent, vital, transformative work that is happening in artistic communities both nationally and internationally right here into Cleveland’s theatrical home for young people and their families, beginning in our 2022-2023 season with our production of The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats, which originally premiered at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis.

Past Productions

2022-2023 Season

  • Aponibolinayen in the Sky (a tale of the Philippines) by Les and Elana Hunter
  • The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats Adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston, Based on the books by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Hook & Smee by T. Paul Lowry
  • Everything I Feel, newly devised by the cast and creative team, led by Mariah Burks
  • The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus by Eric Coble (touring production)
  • The Girl Who Swallowed a Cactus by Eric Coble (virtual production)
  • Kid from Kittlerumpit by Erin Dolan (outdoor touring production)


  • King of the Animals: Tales from Cameroon by Gail Nyoka (performed in 2022, after being postponed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic)
  • About a Ghoul by David Hansen
  • The Heartless Giant by Josh Brown
  • Himalayan Dreams by Scott Miller
  • Tovic Tomte and the Trolls by Eric Coble
  • When the Lion Sneezed by Toni Thayer (touring production)
  • The Oba Asks For a Mountain (A Tale of Nigeria) by Gail Nyoka
  • The Princess & The Nightingale (A Tale of Thailand) by Marian Fairman 
  • The Boy Who Stole the Sun (and Other Native American Stories) adapted by Alison Garrigan 
  • A Song in the Flame (A Tale of Israel) by Margi Herwald Zitelli 
  • Jan & The Trickster (A Polish Tale of Magic) by Krysia Orlowski 
  • The Brementown Musicians adapted by Claire Robinson May 
  • Red Onion, White Garlic (a tale of Indonesia) adapted by David Hansen 
  • Sundiata (a tale of Mali) adapted by Nina Domingue Glover 
  • The Rainbow Serpent (a tale of Aboriginal Australia) adapted by Christopher Johnston 
  • Mr. Scrooge’s Ghosts (a Dickens of a Holiday tale) adapted by Michael Sepesy
  • Peter and the Wolf (based on the work of Sergei Prokofiev) adapted by Greg Vovos 
  • Golden (a Grimm’s Faerie tale) adapted by Toni K. Thayer
  • The Crocodile, the Cobra, and the Girl Down the Well (a Tale of India) adapted by Anne McEvoy 
  • The Mummies and the Magic Prince (a Tale of Egyptian Mythology) adapted by Michael Sepesy 
  • Hook & Smee (a Tale of Never Never Land) adapted by T. Paul Lowry 
  • The Fisherman and the Moon (Why Moon Reflects on Water) adapted by Alison Garrigan 
  • Fire On The Water (Part Four of the Elements Cycle) a special presentation produced in collaboration with Cleveland Public Theatre 
  • Rosalynde & The Falcon: a Topsy-Turvy Tale of England by David Hansen 
  • The Silent Princess: a Turkish Folktale adapted by Claire Robinson May
  • Finn McCool: a Tale of Irish Mythology adapted by Christopher Johnston 
  • Prince Ivan & The Firebird: a Russian Tale of Magic adapted by Alison Garrigan 
  • Aesop’s Pirate Adventure by Michael Sepesy 
  • The Floating Dolls: a Polish Folktale adapted by Toni K. Thayer
  • Loki & Lucy: a Norse Mythology Story by Michael Geither 
  • Clara and the Nutcracker adapted by Anne McEvoy 
  • The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen, adapted by Mike Geither 
  • The Emperor’s Ears: A Serbian Folktale adapted by Michael Sepesy 
  • Adventures In Slumberland (Based on the Characters of Winsor McCay) by David Hansen 
  • The Tale of the Name of the Tree, adapted by Michael Sepesy 
  • Magic Flute adapted by Anne McEvoy