The Emperor Has No Clothes

A Valuable Lesson, Taught by Puppets, Comes to Children's Theatre
Courtesy, Children's Theatre of Charlotte

We have only to look at the state of our economy to see how difficult it is to speak truth to power.

No one wants to upset the emperor (or a proud CEO) by telling him the spiffy new suit he's wearing isn't really there. Or that the crappy mortgages that have been bundled together and resold to some unsuspecting investor are worthless. Remember Enron's Sherron Watkins? Telling the truth to your boss or boss's boss isn't easy. It can get you laughed at. Or fired. How about Harry Markopolos, who tried to tell the SEC repeatedly that Bernie Madoff's returns couldn't be real? The emperor, in whatever form he may take, rarely wants bad news.

It's a bitter lesson. And one that apparently needs to be retaught.

The classic Hans Christian Andersen story The Emperor’s New Clothes is given new life by the most harmless of creatures — puppets — in a production presented by the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

The Grey Seal Puppets reimagine Andersen’s classic cautionary tale about the importance of listening to the truth. Recasting the play using animal characters, kids ages four and up will giggle at the story of a vain ruler who believes what his sycophants tell him — even when the evidence seems to suggest they're lying. The production runs Jan 14-15 at Children’s Theatre at ImaginOn.

In this version, the emperor is a pig, the tailors are foxes, and the prime minister is a camel. In real life, the emperor has been played by countless heads of companies, heads of state, and others in power who ignore unpleasant truths.  

The show is designed for kids ages four and up, but we all know adults who could stand a refresher course …

Tickets are $12-$14. Call 704-973-2828 or visit