Free family-friendly matinee Dec. 14 at Weis Center

LEWISBURG – David Engel’s Pirate School will come to the Weis Center for the Performing Arts stage at Bucknell University, 701 Moore Ave., at 1 p.m. Dec. 14.

The family-friendly matinee is free; tickets are not required. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Attendees are asked to bring a canned food item, which will be donated to the Union County Children and Youth Services and distributed to local families in need during the holiday season.

Engel describes the show as “a madcap, swashbuckling one-man family vaudeville show.” Pirate School has enthralled, emboldened and delighted thousands of families for more than 18 years with its own mischievous blend of clown theater, slapstick antics, adept magic and puppetry, zany music, rich special effects score and its signature brand of boisterous full-audience participation.

Featured in New York Magazine’s “Best of New York: Kids,” Pirate School consistently draws large family audiences because of its undeniable, enduring theme: allowing kids to live the dream of the roving swashbuckler in a joyful, non-violent fashion.

Intended for kids ages 4 to 8, Pirate School satisfies children’s universal curiosity about the briny buccaneers of yore, while boosting self-esteem and pro-social skills in subtle ways; prompting kids to stand up for their mates and follow their hearts and ultimately to be more empathetic, responsible and courageous corsairs.

Engel plays bumbling pirate professor Billy Bones, who teaches youngsters how to be good pirates with zany lessons on how to stand, talk, sing and laugh like jaunty buccaneers. Audiences engage in boisterous competitions and learn the finer points of light-hearted mischief while cannons boom, skulls talk, cutlasses drop, bubbles pop and pets run amok.

A veteran New York physical comedian and actor who performs more than 250 shows a year, Engel has worked in TV, commercials and film, and has been seen on stages across the United States, Europe, Singapore and China.

He’s played for notable companies as Steppenwolf Theater, 500 Clown, Redmoon Theatre, and for 12 years as a “clown doctor” with the Big Apple Circus’ in-hospital Clown Care Program.

The Weis Center Series will continue at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 with Canadian-based modern dance company Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. The performance will feature three dance pieces: “Zero In On,” “Night Box” and “Harry.”