The Firehouse Center for the Arts is presenting two versions of a classic holiday tale.
The Methuen Ballet Ensemble will perform its annual production of “The Nutcracker” tomorrow at 3 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. A gala reception will take place at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
The ensemble has staged “The Nutcracker” for more than 25 years, and each year, the show becomes more elaborate with visual effects and custom-designed costumes.
The story then gets a local twist with “The Nutbuster” on Dec. 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. Joppa Dance Company’s performance adds regional themes and humor, with a lobster replacing the Mouse King and greenheads filling in for the mouse army.
Though the story is the same, the ballet swaps out the traditional music for contemporary pieces by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Kuljit Bhamra and The Black Eyed Peas.
Tickets are $22-$24 for “The Nutcracker” and $12-$14 for “The Nutbuster.” To order, call the box office at 978-462-7336 or visit www.firehouse.org.
The Firehouse is located in Market Square, Newburyport.
Holiday Open House at Whittier Home
The John Greenleaf Whittier Home Museum will open its doors tomorrow from 3 to 5 p.m. for a free Holiday Open House.
A gift shop will offer unique items for all ages and free wrapping. A variety of seasonal sweets, cheeses, fruits, traditional Christmas cake, hot cider and eggnog punch will be served. Providing background music is Cynthia Costello, president of the Whittier Home Association.
Raffle prizes include a handmade wall hanging and oversized poinsettia plants. All proceeds will benefit the upkeep of the home.
The Whittier Home is located at 86 Friend St., Amesbury. For more information, call 978-388-1337.
Local youth in ‘A Christmas Story’
An Amesbury teen is featured in “A Christmas Story,” playing through Dec. 22 at Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, N.H.
Tristan Sullivan, 14, is playing Schwartz in the theatrical version of the classic Christmas film that follows young Ralphie on his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun.
Tristan has acted in a number of professional productions, including “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” alongside Clay Aiken at Ogunquit Playhouse this summer. He is also on the board of the Amesbury Children’s Theatre, a community project designed to give local children a place to perform.
For tickets or more information, visit www.seacoastrep.org or call 603-433-4472.
Artists group puts on ‘A Holiday Show’
The Band of Brushes is presenting “A Holiday Show” through Dec. 31 at Carry Out Cafe in Newburyport.
Members of the group share a love of nature and plein air painting in oil, watercolor, pastel and acrylic. Participating artists include Dorothy Aham, Fran Butsavich and Mary Ann Varoski of Newbury; Christine Molitor Johnson of Amesbury; and Anika Savage of Newburyport.
An opening reception will be held Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the cafe, 155 State St.
Technology, education leaders to gather
Newburyport company Small Solutions, Big Ideas is teaming up with One Planet Education Network for a celebration on Wednesday in Cambridge.
“Learning to Change the World & the Changing World of Learning” will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Cambridge Innovation Center, 1 Broadway, fifth floor.
The event will feature a tribute to constructivism pioneer and MIT professor Seymour Papert for his contributions to education, including his promotion of technology use in classrooms. Papert is the brother of Alan Papert, a Newburyport resident and board member of Small Solutions, Big Ideas who has collaborated with his sibling on computer systems and education technology.
The evening’s lineup also includes panel discussions and demonstrations with leading education experts and technology innovators. Alan Papert and Seymour Papert’s daughter, Artemis Papert, are among the presenters.
All proceeds will go to Small Solutions, Big Ideas, which brings technology to rural communities in Africa. To register, visit www.smallsolutionsbigideas.org.
Singers to perform at Merrimac library
A cappella group Poco Amare will perform Thursday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Merrimac Public Library.
Formed in 2002, the small ensemble is part of the larger Amare Contare Chorus based in Durham, N.H.
Admission is free, and the concert is family-friendly.
Artist Michael Updike showing at Firehouse
“Works in Slate” by Michael Updike is a new exhibit on display through Dec. 29 at the Firehouse Center for the Arts.
An opening reception will be held tomorrow from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Firehouse gallery, located in Newburyport’s Market Square.
Updike creates wall-hung sculptures on gray slate and detailed carvings of birds and other objects from nature. Although he carves accurate renderings, the poses, composition and titles are often amusing. He discovered slate carving while trying to source a traditional headstone for his father, author John Updike. He was inspired to design his own after being unimpressed by the commercial options.
The gallery at the Firehouse is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., later on performance days.
For more information on Updike’s work, visit michaelupdike.net.
Sweet treats to benefit local nonprofit
Roof Over Head is inviting local businesses to build gingerbread houses for its Holiday Celebration on Sunday, Dec. 15.
Creations should represent either the business or the community. The houses will be raffled off during the celebration, which is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. at The Port Tavern in downtown Newburyport.
All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit, which provides housing for homeless and at-risk families in the community. For more information, call 978-869-5341 or email email@example.com.
UNH fair features Newburyport artists
Local artists are among those taking part in the Evergreen Fair next week at the University of New Hampshire.
Alycia Matthews of Alycia’s Art in Newburyport will show off her whimsical papier-mache sculptures. Her characters for every holiday and occasion range from a Miss America firecracker girl to Candy Corn Cat, a vintage-style Halloween candy box, to Snow Flake, a cheerful snow girl.
Morton and Sandy Gilbert of Copper Beach Studio in Newburyport are a father and daughter who are both passionate about photography. “In Just a Moment” is a recurring theme for their work, which focuses on single-frame, high-resolution photography.
The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7.
Admission is free. The fair takes place in the Memorial Union Building, 83 Main St., Durham, N.H.
Cookie Walk to help Amesbury Friends
The third annual Cookie Walk is set for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Amesbury Public Library.
All proceeds from the sale will go to the Friends of the Amesbury Public Library, whose mission is to support the library and its staff and to enhance the resources and services of the library.
Money raised by the Friends pays for educational, cultural and technical programs for adults, teens and children.
Art show at First Religious Society
A local artist is having a show next month to help her travel to Austin, Texas, to be with her son, who will be undergoing cancer treatment.
Ann McCrea will exhibit cards, ornaments, prints, collages and ceramic sculptures from Dec. 1-31 at the Tiny Gallery in the First Religious Society’s Lower Meetinghouse on Unicorn Street in Newburyport. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A reception will be held Saturday, Dec. 7, from 4 to 7 p.m. with music by Sue Creamer.
For more information on “Boston to Austin,” email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm Surge series features film
The Storm Surge speaker series continues Monday at 7 p.m. with the presentation of “Ocean Frontiers II: A New England Story for Sustaining the Sea.”
The recently released film describes how people have come together to work on the nation’s first multistate ocean management plan.
The showing will be followed by a panel discussion with Catherine Bowes, program manager of Northeast Offshore Wind Program, National Wildlife Federation, and Christopher Boelke, field office supervisor of NOAA Fisheries, Habitat Conservation Division.
The fifth in a series about sea level rise and climate change, the program will be held at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury.
Jazz Vespers features Harrington
Music celebrating the holiday season will be highlighted in a Jazz Vespers Service on Wednesday at the First Religious Society in Newburyport.
Guest musician Danny Harrington will join the house band of Lark Madden, Tomas Havrda, Susan Creamer and Andy Brewster.
Florence Mercer will provide the readings for the evening.
The service, which starts at 8 p.m., celebrates the inspiration of jazz, blues and swing music. Admission is free, and the church is located at 26 Pleasant St.
Free dance lessons in Salisbury
Dance your way through the holidays with free salsa lessons being offered every Thursday night in December.
Instructor Greg Coles will lead sessions from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Seaglass Restaurant and Lounge on Salisbury Beach.
Coles studied at the Alvin Ailey School in New York and currently teaches African dance at Tufts University.
For more information, call 978-764-3924.
Jazz on tap at Ten Center
Wednesday’s “Jazz at Ten Center” presents Gilson Schachnik on piano, Fernando Huergo on bass and Phil McGowan on drums.
The show includes classic background dinner music from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and a “Last Set Jam” from 8:30 to 10 p.m. at the restaurant, 10 Center St., Newburyport.
For more information, visit www.tencenterstreet.com.
To submit a Lookout item, email it to email@example.com; fax it to 978-465-8505; or mail it to The Daily News, 23 Liberty St., Newburyport, MA 01950. Follow me on Twitter at AnnNDN.