Wonderland-themed clocks

The prop sale will include large character cutouts, painted furniture, wire bunnies and lots of Wonderland-themed clocks, hearts and faux greenery. There will be teapots and large arches, chairs and desks.

When Theater Works closed its popular immersive show “Curiouser & Curiouser Too” on July 25, it was with a tease that it would be back in November with “A Curiouser Nutcracker.” 

Instead, earlier this month, it announced that because COVID-19 infections were rising rapidly, the “Nutcracker” show was canceled.

“We were so looking forward to returning to live theater with this incredibly fun, entertaining and family-friendly immersive experience, particularly at the holidays, but our concern and focus for the health of anyone and everyone associated with Theater Works took precedence,” Theater Works Managing Director Cate Hinkle said. 

“During this interlude, we are diving deep to evaluate every facet of the organization so that we can bring new programs that we believe are the future of theater for Theater Works.”

Unwilling to just go dark, the Peoria company is offering its audiences a Halloween shopping experience. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, within the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts, Theater Works will sell props and set pieces from the “Curiouser” productions.

“If you saw any of our ‘Curiouser’ productions, this is your chance to get a memento from the experience,” Hinkle said. 

“If you didn’t get to experience this show, the sale gives you a small glimpse at the magnitude of the creativity that went into this massive production.”

“Curiouser & Curiouser” was developed in response to pandemic restrictions because the audience was naturally socially distant and limited to only 12 people at a time. 

Immersive theater is a form of theater where the audience moves through the sets, interacts directly with actors, and can sometimes influence the action of the play or the outcome of the story. 

The Theater Works production featured multimedia design, music, puppetry, dance, theater and visual art.

Theater Works repurposed its building for the “Curiouser & Curiouser” experience. It turned dressing rooms into performance spaces, offices into dressing rooms, and the rehearsal space became one of the realms. 

“It was one of those things that just made sense as a response to COVID,” Hinkle said. 

“We couldn’t do normal theater, but with this we could control the spaces and the group sizes, and it fit very well within our constraints.”

While eventually COVID-19 shut down even that first show, Theater Works opened a darker, more gothic “Curiouser & Curiouser Too” last summer, which ran successfully.

“We are incredibly proud of the popular immersive theater productions we have produced over the last year and extraordinarily thankful to our patrons for their willingness to engage with us in a different way,” Hinkle said.

What might you find at the “Curiouser” shop? There will be large character cutouts, painted furniture, wire bunnies and lots of Wonderland-themed clocks, hearts and faux greenery. There will be teapots and large arches, chairs and desks, too.

They do warn that not all props in the sprawling show will be sold. Shoppers should come early for the best selection.

They range in price from $1 to more than $100 and can be paid for with cash, credit card or check. Shoppers must take all items with them at the time of purchase.

Also, all shoppers must wear a mask as is mandated by the city of Peoria in city buildings. 


Curiouser & Curiouser

Prop Sale

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9

WHERE: Peoria Center for the Performing Arts,

10580 N. 83rd Drive, Peoria

COST: Free admission

INFO: theaterworks.org