January 28 – February 5, 2017
Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

At the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts   701 W. Riverside Drive, Austin, TX  78704

Tickets range from $10.50 – $13.50. Tickets may be purchased online by visiting http://www.pollyannatheatrecompany.org.

Discounts are available for groups of 10 people or more, and financial aid is available for families who need it. For more information, call (512) 743-7966 or email pollytheatre@gmail.com.

Central Texas’ most well-known children’s theatre company, Pollyanna Theatre, a resident company of the Long Center for the Performing Arts, presents The Thing in Grandma’s Closet by Jonathan Graham. This new play, best suited for children ages 7-11, opens January 28 – February 5 at the Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 West Riverside, Austin, TX  78704.

The Thing in Grandma’s Closet tells the story of Nick and Ally, whose grandma has recently passed away. As they clean her house, the downer of a day becomes much more interesting when they discover a mysterious contraption tucked away in a closet. Is it another one of the eccentric former science teacher’s failed inventions, or something she hoped they would find? The siblings put aside their petty squabbles and work together so that they and their mother can reconnect with their grandma and move forward from their loss. Through the action of the play, both Nick and Ally learn that there are many reasons to admire their grandmother that they never knew about. The siblings learn that their grandmother was a very successful scientist who overcame great obstacles to achieve her career in a day when women were not encouraged to love science and math.

“For me, the play is about the interplay between grief and memory,” says playwright Jonathan Graham. “Writing it was an act of resistance to that all-too-human tendency to not fully appreciate the complexity of those we love until they are gone. It was also inspired by my own mother and mother-in-law who are my kids’ quirky and wonderful grandmas.”

This play also speaks to the importance of empowering girls to pursue their dreams and interests no matter what they may be. Director Judy Matetzschk-Campbell says, “The Thing in Grandma’s Closet is a great way to look at how far we have come, but also, to take stock in how far we have to go. I hope it can spark conversations about the struggles that young girls are still facing in regards to societal expectations and gender roles.”

As with all Pollyanna Theatre productions, the cast is comprised of adult, professional actors, including:

Nick – Chase Brewer
Ally – Uyen-Anh Dang
Grandma – Bethany Harbaugh
Mom – Jess Hughes

Parents, teachers and caregivers can download a free study guide to accompany the production by visiting http://www.pollyannatheatrecompany.org/teachers/lesson-plans/. The guide contains an overview of the play, educational objectives and pre/post discussion questions and activities.

In addition to public performances, The Thing in Grandma’s Closet is also available for schools and camps throughout Central Texas.

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