Tooele County’s younger thespians will bring the Hundred Acre Wood to the desert this weekend.
“Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Kids,” will perform on Stansbury High School’s auditorium stage on Feb. 16. It is the finale for the Stallion Drama Program’s Children’s Drama Workshop.
Closely following the plot of Disney’s 2011 “Return to the Land of Christopher Robbin’s Childhood,” the play follows Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit and Owl as they try to save Christopher Robbin from the villainous Backson. The 35- member cast, ages 6 to 12, are all participants in the Children’s Drama Workshop.
Glen Carpenter, SHS drama director, said the workshop finale is more in the form of a recital, but the high schoolers and younger children pushed for a more traditional performance this year. The drama director agreed to the students’ request, but on the condition that the high school students do the bulk of the work, and that he would remain relatively hands-off — and he has.
“My kids have been great with it,” said Carpenter. “They’ve designed the set, they’ve choreographed it, they’ve directed it. I set up the lights for them, and that’s about all I’m doing, besides supervising.”
He added the cast has also been hard-working, rehearsing at home as well as during the workshop.
“I sent them all home with rehearsal CDs, and they practice there,” he said. “The little kid who plays Pooh is a third-grader, and he was pretty much off-book by the second week.”
The children’s drama workshops were started during SHS’ first year to foster talent among younger students and to help bolster the older students’ college applications, especially those considering a career in theater.
This year, Carpenter said, the SHS drama program saw the first children’s drama workshop alumni enter the high school program. Their dramatic drive has given more energy to the program.
“There’s just not a lot for kids to do, especially with the arts around here,” he said. “There’s dance companies and things, but there’s not a lot for drama. I think the first groups of them have started within the last year. I just had a couple kids who were freshmen this year, and then there’s a bunch in eighth grade. Their passion is stronger for drama, because once a kid gets on stage and decides that they love it, you can’t stop it.”
The role of Winnie the Pooh will be played by Drew Cummings, while Laila Green has been cast as Piglet and Taun Gould will play Tigger. Rabbit will be played by Ellen Ladwig, with Maegan Mitchell as Owl, Avery Green as Kanga, Jason Kendall as Roo, Ryan Righell as Eeyore and Collin Bodily as Christopher Robin.
“Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Kids” will be performed Saturday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $2 and will be available at the door.