Programs | Projects

Fidgety Fairy Tales

Once upon a time…

familiar fairy tales were re-imagined as delightful 45-minute musical theatre performances.  Fidgety Fairy Tales – The Mental Health Musicals use gentle humor, great music, and compelling performances by talented youth to raise awareness about children’s mental health.

Our goals are to:

  • Provide accurate information about mental health disorders using clear, accessible language
  • Dispel the myths and reduce the fear and misunderstanding around mental health disorders
  • Portray the strengths and struggles of children with mental health disorders
  • Help families, friends, and communities respond with compassion, understanding, and support

Our TWELFTH original production will premiere in April 2020 and include:

  • Chicken Little (anxiety)
  • Old Mother Hubbard (trauma)
  • The Tortoise and the Hare (depression)

Check back soon for dates and times of FREE performances in the Twin Cities!

Auditions for our Spring 2020 Production

Auditions: Sunday, January 26 and Monday, January 27, 2020
Casting a diverse group of performers ages 10 – 18. Approximately 11 – 12 performances. Paid position.

Book a performance for your organization!

Since 2008, Fidgety Fairy Tales has had over 300 performances and reached more than 42,000 Minnesotans.  We have traveled throughout Minnesota and are available for some parts of Wisconsin as well. Contact Matt Jenson at for more information about cost and availability.

Available October – November 2019
Deadline to book is May 30, 2019

Three NEW stories about children’s mental health:

  • Puss in Boots (autism)
  • Mary had a Little Lamb (anxiety)
  • The Ants and the Grasshopper (ADHD)

Please visit Book A Performance for more information and availability.

The opening number from 2017’s production at Sumner Library in Minneapolis:


Since 2008, we have had over 300 performances and reached over 42,000 audience members throughout Minnesota.

We have performed for:

  • elementary,  middle, and high schools
  • churches
  • community centers
  • libraries
  • malls
  • hospitals
  • early childhood family nights
  • art festivals
  • special Olympics events
  • children’s museums
  • residential treatment centers

We have performed at conferences and trainings for professionals:

  • National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
  • National Conference on Advancing School Mental Health
  • Children’s Theatre Company’s Neighborhood Bridges National Conference
  • Minnesota School Social Workers Conference
  • Education Minnesota
  • St. Thomas University’s Education for Everyone
  • CASA MN (Guardian ad Litem Conference)
  • Minnesota Social Services Conference
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Practical Review for Primary Care Providers and Mental Health Professionals
  • MACMH’s annual conference for professionals and parents
  • Anoka School District Paraprofessionals
  • Minnesota Division of Early Childhood
  • Minneapolis Early Childhood Special Education


Thirty-six different fairy tales cover a wide range of children’s mental health disorders and concepts.  Scripts have been reviewed by mental health professionals, parents, and youth with mental health disorders.  Fidgety has been recognized nationally by SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity, and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (ADS Center).  Fidgety has also been recognized as a program of high artistic quality through grants from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, and the St. Paul Cultural STAR Program.

Creative Team

Matt Jenson – Playwright/Co-Director
Matt is the Director of Arts and Youth Engagement at MACMH, Matt is also a Teaching Artist at the Childen’s Theatre Company and was a faculty member of the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts and Dance for fourteen years.  His work has been supported by the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Jerome Foundation.

Marya Hart – Composer/Lyricist/Co-Director
Marya Hart is a composer, pianist and music director, specializing in vocal and theatrical music.  After many years in blues, jazz and western swing bands and extensive work as a theatre music director and pianist, she began serious composition in 2005 and has since created eight major music theatre pieces in addition to incidental music, religious and secular songs, and a continuous stream of music for students at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, where she is a teaching artist.

Fidgety in the News

MinnPost – “Fidgety Fairy Tales use song and dance to humanize mental disorders for adults and children.”

Kare 11 – “Fairy Tales Helping Reduce Mental Illness Stigma”

Psychiatric News – “Kids Learn What Can Follow `Once Upon a Time…'”

Minneapolis Star Tribune – “A New Take on Fairy Tales”

Insight – Lee Valsvik’s radio interview with director Matt Jenson and actor Jared Smith

For more information about attending a performance, booking a show, or producing your own version of “Fidgety Fairy Tales,” please contact Matt Jenson at or 651-644-7333.

All photos by V. Paul Virtucio

This activity has been made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and Target Stores

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