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Released July 14, 2004

SOUTHERN MISS THEATRE PRODUCES CHILDREN'S PLAY

HATTIESBURG -- Southern Arena Theatre at The University of Southern Mississippi has a special treat in store for children and parents alike when it presents Lorraine Thompson's "Tale Trackers" July 28-31.

In 2003, SAT presented Thompson's successful children's show "Storyville" on four mornings during the last week of productions in July. Based on that success, Frank Kuhn, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, said the company will produce another Thompson play, directed by Andrew Elliott, director of last year's "Storyville." The production will run Thursday through Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. during the week of July 28-31.

"One of the delights of last season was the enormous success of the children's show," Kuhn said. "It was a joy to introduce children to the fun of theatre and, although it is not part of our rotating three-show repertory, in many ways it is one of the most important things we can do."

Kuhn further explains that this show is targeted for children ranging in age from four to 10. Like the 2003 production, the play offers a delightful and engaging bridge between storytelling and dramatic enactment.

"A group of adventurers travel all over the world collecting folk tales," Elliott said. "They perform the stories for each other and the audience, hoping to entertain and teach good morals."

The Southern Miss production boasts a cast of eight actors, playing more than 30 different characters-from a princess who doesn't laugh to a dancing monkey. "Thompson's story follows much of the same format as her 'Storyville' play in 2003, but sets the action in a jungle rather than a fairytale village," Elliott explained.

The director of the show is in his third year of graduate school at Southern Miss, pursuing a master of fine arts degree in directing. He holds a bachelor of arts in English from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Elliott last directed the Southern Miss theatre production of "Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar and Grille" in April 2004.

He also designed lighting for this summer's Southern Arena Theatre production of "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and sound for "Schoolhouse Rock Live!"

Thompson holds a bachelor of arts in education from Auburn University and a master of fine arts in theatre from the University of Georgia. Having served as a master teacher for the state theater of Georgia, her workshop credits include the Athens Area Association on Young Children, the Georgia Independent Schools Association, and the Madison County Grassroots Arts Grant Program.

She also is a professional actress having played at the Highlands Playhouse, the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, and the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. Thompson is a member of the Southeastern Theatre Conference and the Educational Theatre Association.

The production will be held at the Woods Showcase Theatre in the Theatre and Dance Building. Tickets for "Tale Trackers" are $5 per person. For tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425, or order online at www.usm.edu/tickets. Tickets may be purchased at the theatre box office one hour prior to curtain time for each performance.

For more information about the children's production, call the Department of Theatre and Dance at Southern Miss at (601) 266-4994.

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July 23, 2004 10:48 AM

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