Fun was center stage as the Westport Country Playhouse raised the curtain on its new season geared to youngsters and their families with a "Family Festivities Series" kick-off party Sunday.

The productions showcased at the event will run through next spring, including: "Madeline and the Bad Hat," Nov. 17; "Circo Comedia," Dec. 15; "Dino-Light," Jan. 19; "Sleeping Beauty Dreams," Feb. 9; "Diary of a Worm, A Spider and a Fly," March 9, and "Seussical," March 23. All performances will be staged at 1 and 4 p.m.

In advance of the shows, however, there was still plenty to keep young theater goers occupied. In the theater's main courtyard, visitors tried their luck with a bean bag toss through a plywood cutout of the playhouse.

The Sheffer Rehearsal Studio was transformed into the Kids' Fun Zone, with crafts, tumbling, sparring with boxing gloves and facepainting.

In the main lobby, attendees could check out displays of the storied theater's history, get a free balloon, look at picture books and do some coloring with crayons.

Food samples awaited guests on the mezzanine level, and visitors also could try on costumes on the main stage.

"This is our second annual family day promoting our Family Festivities Series, which we've been holding since April," said Annie Keefe, associate artist with the Westport Country Playhouse. "This is an opportunity to introduce families to the playhouse and get them excited about live theater in their community. Six different theater pieces for young children are being offered this year."

David Dreyfoos, associate producer/director of production, was right in the middle of main stage activities, with both children and adults trying on wigs, hats and costumes. "My staff and I in the costume area have the best jobs," he said. "This allows us to interact with the kids, explain costume changes, get them to understand what it's like to be looking out at an audience. It's so much fun. I can't think of a better way to be spending Sunday."

Lisa Dahlstrom, of Fairfield, said she is "involved with lots of community theaters in the area ... I'm an actress, costume designer and fundraiser. This is definitely my element and so much fun for my 6-year-old daughter. She loves to dress up and there are so many options for her here, outside of the traditional princess get-up."

For more information about the Westport Country Playhouse's Family Festivities programming, visit or call 203-227-4177.