Creative PlayGround, a not-for-profit arts organization, began as the residency wing of a touring children's theatre company. Inspired by the play of children, a deeply shared love of literature, and the desire to encourage young audiences to build and embrace their own creativity, Ms. Tobias and Ms. Hardcastle began adapting, staging and producing versions of their favorite stories from the pantheon of children's literature. After building a following and garnering extremely positive response from the L.A. Times, BackstageWest and L.A. Parent Magazine, Creative PlayGround began to expand adding a residency at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum as part of their Family Fundays series. In addition, Creative PlayGround appears at venue such as The Powerhouse Theatre, International City Theatre of Long Beach, L.A., S.M. and Oxnard Public Libraries, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times and UCLA Children's Hospital. The company also performs regularly for public and private schools in the L.A. area. In 2005, CPG mounted it's first full-length musical Atalanta (an adaptation of the story from Marlo Thomas' Free To Be…You and Me) collecting rave reviews not only from the press but, most important to the company's founders, from the children and parents who have made Creative PlayGround a regular part of their family's entertainment for over a decade.
Karen Hardcastle graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA with a BA in Theatre. While still in college, she developed and directed Camp Shakespeare in conjunction with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. She went on to be the administrator and principal acting teacher for the Columbia School of Theatrical Arts in Columbia, MD. There she adapted and directed Alice in Wonderland with a cast of over fifty children. She also assisted with the development of new, family theatre at Toby's Dinner Theatre. In DC, Ms. Hardcastle has worked with The Shakespeare Theatre and Washington Shakespeare. While in Los Angeles, Ms. Hardcastle has served as a teacher, a writer and the Education Outreach Manager for The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, as well as their box office manager. She has written pieces that have been performed by children all over L.A. and directed and taught in a variety of schools. Her first produced play, My Last Song, was the winner of the Howard Scammon Prize for Drama. Ms. Hardcastle is currently an educator at Westland School.
Elizabeth Tobias is an actor, director, producer, and educator who has studied at Oxford University's Balliol College in London and graduated from UCLA with a BA in Theatre, Film and Television and a graduate degree in Education. As an actress, Ms. Tobias has worked with Nevada Shakespeare Company (performing for over 1500 audience members per show in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Romeo & Juliet), 7 Stages in Atlanta (performing in the East Coast premiere of the ACT award-winning play The King of Infinite Space) and at the Ohio Theatre in New York with Common Ground Stage and Film. Upon returning to L.A., Ms. Tobias has worked with a variety of the city's most prestigious companies including Laguna Playhouse, Getty Villa, Odyssey Theatre, Fabulous Monsters, and The Actors' Gang - where she served as the Assistant Managing Director in addition to performing in and producing several award-winning pieces. For Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum, in addition to performing and teaching, Ms. Tobias serves as the School Programs Director managing all of the company's in-school educational programs as well as writing study guides and educational grants. Ms Tobias has also performed, produced and/or taught for Serendipity Children's Theatre, KidPower, S.T.A.R., Imagination Company and The Powerhouse Theatre.