Charlotte saves the children

By Erin Flom, Guest Writer

PLU Marketing & Communications
PLU Marketing & Communications

In the 1970s, Pacific Lutheran University had a prominent children’s theater. Senior Mitchell Helton is hoping to bring it back this year with a production of “Charlotte’s Web,” based on the novel by E.B. White. The show premieres 7:30 p.m. tonight.

As part of his capstone project, Helton was able to combine his two passions, theater and children’s literature, into this production.

Helton said he chose “Charlotte’s Web” because it was his favorite story from when he was a kid. He admires how E.B. White “doesn’t censor topics that others think would be too delicate for kids.”

By having children’s theater at PLU, Helton said “it’s a great way to get the community involved.”

That’s exactly what he did. James Sales and Collins elementary schools will see the production. Helton said that the students “will fill the entire house.” All 600 seats.

By bringing back children’s theater, it also “provides an opportunity [for younger students] to see a live production who wouldn’t normally get to,” Helton said.

Senior Asia Wolfe, who plays the sheep, said she’s excited to have so many kids in the audience and that as an actor, “you feed off the energy of the audience and kids always have more energy.”

Wolfe also said acting for children’s theater “forces you to tap into your inner kid.”

The play follows the original story very closely —Helton mentioned that E.B. White even helped with the script adaptation.

The completely student-produced show “had minimal time commitment,” Helton said. He explained audiences “will have to use creativity to create the world; the kids will make the show whatever they want it to be.”

After he graduates this May, Helton hopes to work in children’s theater.

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