Fish in a Tree Design Inspirations

From drawing inspiration from the work of Mister Rogers to the courage it takes to be yourself, each member of the Fish in a Tree creative team had their own unique sources of inspiration that helped to shape the final product.
Creative Clubhouse KIDS

We asked some of the creative team:

What Inspired Your Fish in a Tree Design?

From the start, we were inspired by music while creating the piece. We often look to music to help define and create the world of the story.

Once we began to collaborate with other artists, we were constantly re-inspired by the artistry, the perspective, and the contribution of those on this team. The work of the full design team brings Ally’s world to life!

Melissa Jessel

Co-Director, Fish in a Tree

I did not have to go very far for inspiration, as I am dyslexic myself. I relate completely to this story and am so proud to be involved. I remember very clearly my own struggles with words and reading, and how music and art created a safe haven for creativity. But beyond myself, I love turning to books like The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse for image inspiration.

Ben Diskant

Illustrations, Fish in a Tree

The wonderful amount of colors in the world! Especially when kids use them to make art!

Carmen Martinez

Costume Designer, Fish in a Tree

Ally’s big book of imagination and impossible things!

Ann Beyersdorfer

Scenic Designer, Fish in a Tree

My experience being diagnosed with auditory processing disorder (auditory dyslexia) in elementary school and my experience as an adult being diagnosed as autistic and doing work with groups of disabled people.

Lily Lipman

Ally, Fish in a Tree

I have always loved the work of Mister Rogers, and as a result, took some of his creative process into my own! I want to approach things slowly and honestly as he did–with love. To look at Shay and see her goodness so I can understand why she might act with such hate and spite towards Ally. I also glean a lot from music! So I took time to curate a playlist of songs that gets me in the right headspace and encourages a physicality I think suits Shay. Additionally, I have had a TON of fun going down memory lane to when I was little. Drawing from that part of myself, both physically and emotionally, has been very rewarding.

Sadie Veach

Shay, Fish in a Tree

I wanted to think outside of the box, like Ally when building some of the larger props! I took items that we normally use for different purposes and turned them into something completely different! I walked around the city and pulled inspiration from things I was seeing all around.

Brooke Singer

Properties Manager, Fish in a Tree

Students I have taught or worked with, as well as my own favorite teachers.

Taylor Janney-Rovin

Dramaturg, Fish in a Tree

There is a song in the musical Finding Neverland named “Play” which is what I use for inspiration on any show that I work on.

Tyler Danhaus

Stage Manager, Fish in a Tree

I was inspired by the courage it takes to be yourself, and the importance of friendship.

Alena Henke

Swing, Assistant Director, & Movement Captain, Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Adapted by Barbara Zinn Krieger from the best-selling novel by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, this new play with music for young audiences, directed by Sammy Lopez and Melissa Jessel, uses live video technology, dance, and music to explore Ally’s journey with dyslexia.

Fish in a Tree celebrates neurodiversity, friendship, and the power of imagination, and explores the harm bullying causes and the life changing potential of a generous teacher.

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Your gift will enable us to continue the critical work we are doing right now and enable us to continue planning for the future.

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