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Appalachian Young People’s Theatre Performs “The Arkansaw Bear”

BOONE–Appalachian State University’s Appalachian Young People’s Theatre will perform the “The Arkansaw Bear” in Greer Arena Theatre April 5-7.

Friday’s performance begins at 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday showtimes are at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $3 for children and $5 for adults.

For additional information or ticket reservations, call (828) 262-3063 or visit

The show runs approximately 45 minutes and is targeted to grades K-6, but is suitable for audiences of all ages. AYPT currently is touring the show to schools around Western North Carolina as well.

“The Arkansaw Bear” is written by Aurand Harris, America’s leading playwright for children. It is a sensitively written play aimed toward helping young people understand and accept death as part of the cycle of life.

In the play, a young girl, Tish, refuses to accept the pending death of her grandfather.

In her search for understanding, Tish runs to her favorite tree where she wishes on a star to why her grandfather must die. Wishing leads Tish through a fantasy where she meets the World’s Greatest Dancing Bear, who also is dying. The bear is searching for a way to leave his mark on the world before he must follow the Great Ringmaster to the Great Center Ring. While helping the bear, Tish soon finds that her grandfather has left his mark through her, and is able to accept his death.

Director Anna Ward says the play provides an opportunity to help children solve their unanswered questions about death and that the play is an ideal tool for discovery.

“The children we teach are, for the most part, aware of the changes in our world and inevitably have unanswered questions. It is my hope that ‘The Arkansaw Bear’ can be an opening for a discussion about loss through a story that challenges without being threatening,” said Ward.

Cast members are Crystal Thomas as Tish, Trisha Harmon as Star Bright, Amanda Brinkley as the Mime, Adam Faw as the Dancing Bear, Jared Ambrose as the Great Ringmaster and Robin Kalat as Little Bear.

Appalachian Young People’s Theatre is comprised of undergraduate students under the supervision of Artistic Director Teresa Lee, an associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian.

This year AYPT is celebrating 30 years of providing a variety of quality plays with educational value to North Carolina youth.