Children’s theatre continues its revival at PLU
“James and the Giant Peach” premieres this February
When James Henry Trotter is forced to move-in with his horrible aunts, he finds comfort in a magical peach and a group of extraordinary friends who lead him on an adventure through the Atlantic Ocean, above the clouds, and to far-off, distant countries. Pacific Lutheran University’s next production, James and the Giant Peach, will be performed on February 17 at 7 p.m., and February 18 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Eastvold Auditorium of the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
A story of friendship, bravery and adventure, James and the Giant Peach is perfect for all ages and is sure to fulfill the fantasies of anyone who has ever dreamed of escape.
“Children’s theatre ignites the imagination,” Director Katie Wee ‘17 says. “It can act as a tool to give children the hope, the skills, and the creativity necessary to face, understand and change the world.”
Wee became interested in continuing PLU’s revitalized children’s theatre program after spending a semester in London working with a children’s theatre. Wee worked as assistant to the artistic director in a program that paired children with professional actors, directors and playwrights to work one-on-one to write a play.
“These professionals have worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre, on the West End, and in various movies and television shows, so the production quality was incredible and so, so special to the children,” Wee commented. “Even more so, showing these children their voices and their words are important enough to be performed by these people does wonders for their self-esteem.”
According to Wee, James and the Giant Peach encompasses the perfect mix of action and imagination, and offers themes suitable for both child and adult audiences.
“You want the story to be interesting, you want the villains to be disturbing, and you want the hero to be someone we can all relate to and cheer for,” Wee says. “Kids are clever, kids are smart, so theatre itself does not have to change much.”
Although this is only the second children’s play produced at PLU in thirty years, Wee believes there’s an opportunity to make this both a popular and a thriving aspect of PLU’s theatre program. PLU’s new Artistic Director of Theatre Tom Smith has a background in children’s theatre.
“I am a huge advocate of theatre for young audiences,” Smith says. “Children deserve to see high-quality theatre and our program is proud to present these shows to our local schools at almost no cost and to the public for a very reasonable price to make it accessible to all.”
As for Wee, after graduation she hopes to expand on her interest in children’s theatre by attending graduate school for arts administration and continuing to work for children’s theatre in educational outreach.
Tickets are $5 and are available online at Eventbrite, at the PLU Community Box Office (253-535-7411) and at the door.