In today’s world, it often feels that kindness is illusive. Hostility, it seems, is everywhere. It’s yelling from our TV screens, drowning out others on our social media feeds and darkening many of our conversations. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte wants to help bring kindness front and center (stage).

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte has commissioned the first of three world-premiere plays that feature kindness as a central theme. First up for The Kindness Project, during the 2018-2019 season, will be Last Stop on Market Street. Written by Gloria Bond Clunie (who also wrote North Star, which is set in North Carolina during the Civil Rights era), the play will dramatize Matt de la Pena’s book that won the 2016 Newbery Medal and was named as a 2016 Caldecott Honor book, a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book, a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015 and a Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015.

Last Stop on Market Street is a poignant story about CJ and his grandmother, who must ride the bus across town each Sunday. CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend and why he doesn’t have an iPod like other children on the bus. CJ’s grandmother answers each question with a surprisingly positive and grateful answer, and it helps him see the beauty in their routine and the world around them.

“It’s important for children to recognize opportunities to show kindness to others. Unlike empathy or sympathy, which are feelings, being kind requires an action,” Adam Burke, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s artistic director, said. “We hope this project will act as a catalyst for conversations within families, classrooms and around lunch tables and water coolers about how we can all be more kind to one another.”

Clunie is currently writing the script for Last Stop on Market Street before the play makes its world premiere at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte during the 2018-2019 season. Clunie will visit Children’s Theatre of Charlotte from July 24 to July 28 to revise the script at a workshop.

Press release provided by Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.