Pollyanna Theatre Co. & Ballet Austin Present SPRITES Jan. 24-26

Pollyanna Theatre Co. & Ballet Austin Present SPRITES Jan. 24-26

Central Texas' most well-known children's theatre company, Pollyanna Theatre along with Ballet Austin co-present Holly Hepp-Galvan's Sprites at the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside, Austin, TX 78704. The show runs from January 24-26th with multiple show times and two 'pay what you like' parties with the cast following the performances.

This delightful new play, a dance drama, was commissioned by Pollyanna Theatre Company to playwright Holly Hepp-Galvan, and choreographed by Ballet Austin's Nicholas Kepley. Pollyanna is also joined in this co-production by Ballet Austin's Trainees, an amazingly talented group of young professional dancers. Sprites is best suited for family audiences ages 8 and up.

The story follows a young girl named Wren, who is trying to navigate her way through a new set of peers when she realizes that her words are Sprites, imaginative beings that can take on a life of their own. At first this discovery is very fun as the Sprites help her write beautiful poems and fun stories. But Wren is shocked when her angry words suddenly take on a very sinister life. Convinced to use her words as weapons against a friend, Wren launches her angry language into cyberspace and the effect is far greater than she could ever imagine.

Exploring themes of acceptance, peer pressure and cyber-bullying in the digital age, the play delves into the desire to fit in, doing what is 'right' and finding one's 'true voice'.

Judy Matetzschk-Campbell PhD, founder and artistic director of Pollyanna Theatre Company says, "As a child I was always confused when adults told me that 'words cannot hurt you'. It sure felt like they could! Today more than ever, a word when it is spoken can never be erased. As soon as it is launched into cyberspace via email or posted online, it has a life all of its own. With bullying online being almost an epidemic among school aged children, it only seems appropriate that Pollyanna would examine this powerful topic through a current and original production. We are thrilled that Ballet Austin is joining us in our efforts to who young people the true power of their words."

Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin agrees. "Ballet Austin has a long standing history with Pollyanna Theatre Company and is proud to once again partner with them. Our participation in Sprites allows us to broaden our reach and establish new connections with students and educators throughout Austin. As part of this unique collaboration, our dancers are given the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of theatrical storytelling, as they experience a collaborative creation process in which they are able to build their own characters from the ground up."

The cast includes professional actors including Chelsea Hockaday, Julie Linnard, Bethany Harbaugh and Maya PRuitt.

In addition to public performances, Sprites is also available for schools throughout Central Texas. Call (512) 743-7966 for more information. As with all Pollyanna productions, accompanying multi-disciplinary curricula and professional development tools are also available free of charge for teachers and parents.

ABOUT BALLET AUSTIN: As distinctive and dynamic as the city it calls home, Ballet Austin welcomes audiences near and far to participate in its "classically innovative" vision for the democratization of dance. With a rich history spanning five decades, acclaimed productions, a commitment to creating access to programs and one of the nation's largest classical ballet academies, the organization is poised for an even greater future. From their home at the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin, Ballet Austin and artistic director Stephen Mills actively engage the community, dancers, and audiences alike. The New York Times proclaims Ballet Austin "a company with big ambitions" originating work that is "absorbing."

Ballet Austin's trainees represent the most senior level of the Ballet Austin Academy, which is the official ballet school of Ballet Austin. Ballet Austin Academy is committed to providing the highest quality dance instruction to its students. Currently, the Academy has more than 1,000 students, making it one of the largest ballet schools in the United States. www.balletaustin.org

ABOUT POLLYANNA THEATRE COMPANY: The founders of Pollyanna Theatre Company believe that theatre is a powerful teaching tool that speaks to people of all ages in a unique and powerful way through a variety of visual, aural, and emotional languages. Therefore, theatre should be a part of all general education from pre-kindergarten through adulthood. Toward that end, The Pollyanna Theatre Company strives to work alongside educators to inspire, motivate, and teach audiences of all ages. Although the company's primary focus is upon young audience members, the ensemble performs top quality theatrical productions that speak to and illuminate the human spirit and condition for all ages. www.pollyannatheatrecompany.org

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Holly Hepp-Galván

Holly Hepp-Galvan received her MFA in Playwriting at Hunter College where she was the recipient of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Award for her trilogy, "Departures" in 2009 and won the Irv Zarkower award twice, for "Oddities" in 2010 and "Andrea's Esophagus" in 2011.

As well as playwriting, Holly is a performer and teaching theatre artist. She has studied Kathakali in Kerala, India and has developed a physical breathwork technique called Animare that she teaches in workshops to writers and actors. In addition, she is active with Theatre for Young Audiences and her play, "Sprites" which was commissioned by Pollyanna Children's Theatre and Ballet Austin, will premiere at the Long Center in Austin, Texas in October 2012.

For the past ten years, Holly has been Adjunct Professor of Communication and Theatre Arts at both the College of Mount Saint Vincent and Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. She teaches courses in Acting, Directing, Organizational Communication and New Media Journalism.

WHEN: January 24 - 11:00 am

January 25 - 11:00 am & 2:00 pm, followed by a 'pay what you like' party

January 26 - 2:00 & 4:00 pm followed by a 'pay what you like' party

WHERE: Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts

701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78704

TICKETS: Tickets are $7.75 for children under 12, $8.75 for students over 12-18, Seniors over 65 & Austin Creative Alliance members, $9.75 for adults. Group rates from $3.00 - $5.00 available.

*Please note: At Pollyanna, no family is turned away because of an inability to pay for tickets. If assistance with ticket price is needed, please contact Pollyanna Theatre Company at (512) 743-7966.

RSVP: For Weekday tickets: Call 512.743.7966. For Weekend tickets: Call 512.474.LONG (5664) or visit: www.thelongcenter.org

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