“The Three Little Pigs” blows away audience

Steven Dennis

Performing Arts for Children recently brought its newest performance to Washburn University’s Andrew J. and Georgia Neese Gray Theatre. The classic tale of “The Three Little Pigs” came to life on Washburn’s stage Jan. 13 for the organization’s 48th season.

“We partner with Washburn University and we bring professional children’s theatre to [the] theatre,” says Cathy Wasinger, a volunteer in Performing Arts for Children. “It’s a nice symbiotic relationship.”

Performing Arts for Children is committed to bringing high quality, live theatre for kids throughout Kansas and beyond at an affordable price.

“It’s an introductory thing… we want to inspire the next generation…to appreciate that theatre is not just to appreciate being a performer, but going to theatre… It just opens the horizons for so many different kids who otherwise don’t have this,” said Doug Hearn, actor of the Big Bad Wolf.

This production of “The Three Little Pigs” was performed by Wichita Children’s Theatre & Dance Company’s touring group for the company’s 37th consecutive season.

“We are just one small part of our organization; the four of us are sort of the ambassadors of children’s theatre to the Midwest,” said Hearn. “We travel primarily in Kansas, and we also do a couple of gigs in Nebraska as well, but we take this touring theatre production to mostly small, rural community… We also bring it to inter-city kids and Wichita public schools. So that’s sort of our core mission with the tour; it’s an introductory thing to a demographic that otherwise doesn’t have this.”

Washburn students also benefit from these productions. Performing Arts for Children offers scholarships to student volunteers that help with lights, sound and other essentials for the stage.

“We give them a scholarship through the theatre department. They do the sound, the lighting, the house management, and in return we give them a scholarship,” said Wasinger.

Variety is priority for Performing Arts for Children. They offer a wide assortment of shows to appeal to audiences and broaden horizons.

“Our main thing is the exposure. We try to expose kids to live theatre and we try to expose them to a variety of it,” Wasinger said.

Performing Arts for Children’s next production, “Stellaluna,” will be Feb. 17 and is the last of the season.

The Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Company looks forward to making their next production once the current tour is completed.