My Mother Once Read...

Costume Designer and Props Head

Still producing shows today, My Mother Once Read... started as a touring children's theater festival curated and directed by Ava Kepple as her senior project at UArts in the spring of 2023. It originally consisted of three short plays: Aluminum Barbie, When the Astronomer Met the Starry Sky, and The Fairy and the Snapdragon.

Find out more about where My Mother Once Read... is now at

The Fairy and the Snapdragon

Aluminum Barbie

Aluminum Barbie by Rose Farrell explores gender and gender identity through classic children's toys: Barbie and GI Joe. 

GI Joe goes through a journey of self-discovery after being picked on by his brothers for not being boy-ish enough. In the end, both Barbie and GI Joe undergo trasformations after being caught in a fire, and both feel more themselves afterward.

When the Astronomer Met the Starry Sky

When the Astronomer Met the Starry Sky by Tyler Econa and Jack Thornley teaches important lessons on family dynamics and the importance of consent. 

The story follows Starry Sky and her encounters with Astronomer, a persistent human who won't take no for an answer. After her father Papa Sun dismisses her, Starry sky and her brother North Wind take to their mother, Mama Moon, who set's it all straight.

The Fairy and the Snapdragon

The Fairy and the Snapdragon by Sara Mascelli is a friendly approach to climate change and industrial capitalism:

When Mother Earth has fallen sick, her daughter Princess Cordelia must go on a journey to break a curse created when her brother betrayed their family. In the end, all is resolved: the family curse is broken and resolved, and the fairy kingdom is restored.


The original concept for the festival was based in traveling trunk shows, with the idea being that most, if not all of the show's elements could be transported in the trunks. As the shows naturally grew in development, the trunks ended up only holding props, puppets, and some accessories as opposed to all of the props and costumes.

The trunks also served as the scenic elements for each of the shows. So, I selected the important locations and larger elements of each of the shows to be represented. The painted sides combined with the blocking created each scene, as well as transitional moments.

As I'm not a scenic designer or painter, this was a challenging task for me. But ultimately it was absolutely worth it in the end to see my design follow through as I learned so much.

Promotional Poster

In collaboration with Ava, I also created the festival's poster that was used for marketing. I created it in photoshop as a digital collage, so that I could tie in elements from each of the shows.

Production Credits:

Director: Ava Kepple

Assistant Director: Alani Rose

Puppet Designer: J. Bean Schwab

Stage Manager: Asher Vaglica

ASM: Spencer Boyce


Olivia Berkson

Felicity Mundy

Charlie Nicolini

Isabel Penn

Finn Powers

Delaney Ziegman

Produced by The University of the Arts

Photo Credit: John Flak