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Wed, Jan 24


Hattiesburg Saenger Theater

HAC Children's Theater Performances - “Why Not Me? … A Story of Being Free”

HAC presents our annual Children's Theater Performances- “Why Not Me? … A Story of Being Free” produced by Wiggle Genius created by Julie Hammond, Wes Hanson, and Petron Brown featuring USM Dancers, Hattiesburg Community Members and K-12 Students. ** Reservations Required**

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HAC Children's Theater Performances - “Why Not Me? … A Story of Being Free”
HAC Children's Theater Performances - “Why Not Me? … A Story of Being Free”

Time & Location

Jan 24, 2024, 9:00 AM – 9:40 AM

Hattiesburg Saenger Theater, 201 Forrest St, Hattiesburg, MS 39401, USA


About the event

Tuesday & Wednesday, January 23th & 24th, 2024 The shows will start at 9am on both days and last approximately 45 minutes. The admission fee will be $3 per child to be paid at the door or through your school. (Reservations required - free to parents & chaperones) 

Location: Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater, 201 Forrest Street, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

“Why Not Me? … A Story of Being Free” This larger-than-life show is based on an original play written by Petron Brown and Wes Hanson (USM Theatre) in collaboration with Julie Hammond (USM Dance). Funded through a Mississippi Arts Commission Individual Project Grant awarded to Hammond, the play was created to share a diversity of dance experiences, including cultural, contemporary, creative, and social dance forms. These dance performances help tell a story about a group of frogs, who are great friends, and discover they must make a journey to save themselves and their homes from the evil Robart. Their adventure helps them remember the power of being different, but also the importance of working together with people who are different from them. “Why Not Me? … A Story of Being Free” is a performance about dance, diversity, theatre, and freedom, reminding us all of the importance of being who we really are in the world and making sure we keep dancing along the way! The performance is also a celebration of collaboration. Julie Hammond invited participants, as well as conceptualized, co-directed, and co-produced the show, but the performance is only possible through the talent and effort of all involved. The play features local K-12 Middle and High School students in the main acting roles and is rehearsed and produced in partnership with Abigail Lenz Allen, “Centerstage” Director and locally renowned producer. The dance performances are by USM dance company dancers, with choreographic contributions and production assistance by dance education majors. In addition to script writing, Wes Hansen designed and built all props and sets, and Petron Brown worked with performers weekly on character development and staging. This performance is produced by “Wiggle Genius,” an organization founded by Hammond and dedicated to helping K-12 teachers and students understand through personal experiences, the power of dance in learning and in life. It is our collective hope that this special Children’s Theatre Performance does just this.

Julie Hammond is a Full Professor and the Dance Education & Licensure Coordinator, in her 20th year at the University of Southern Mississippi. She was a K-12 teacher for 10 years before joining academia. Her current research and service work centers in dance integration, specifically helping K-12 elementary classroom teachers instruct utilizing creative movement to make learning more meaningful and memorable. Hammond has been a teaching artist for 20 years, has been an invited presenter at dance and education conferences at the state, national, and international levels, and has received numerous awards throughout her career for her contributions to the arts in education. She is a passionate advocate for dance in education and is deeply honored to have this unique opportunity to work in collaboration with the students and professionals involved in this project. She is excited to share their efforts and this play with the Hattiesburg community, and the elementary students and teachers who will attend these performances.

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