'Top Secret Deer Daycare' to perform in Black Box Theatre at UCM

Jill, played by Heather Marsh, and Stanley, played by Drew Sinnard, discuss the fawn, played by Zoe Lepper, that has just appeared at the edge of the forest in the University of Central Missouri’s production of “Top Secret Deer Daycare” in the Black Box Theatre in Nickerson Hall on campus.

WARRENSBURG — The University of Central Missouri Theatre and Dance presents the world premiere production of Theatre for Young Audience’s award-winning play “Top Secret Deer Daycare” from Wednesday, Oct. 23, to Saturday, Oct. 26.

Due to technical issues, this production has been moved from the Highlander Theatre to the Black Box Theatre at Nickerson Hall on the UCM campus for the duration of the run.

Performances are scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 23; 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24; 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct 25; and 2 p.m. Oct. 26.

Written by Laura Shamas, the play unfolds as Jill, played by Heather Marsh, moves with her parents from the city into a new house at the edge of the forest and discovers a naturalist boy named Stanley sitting just beyond her backyard fence line.

Captivated and intrigued by the sudden emergence of a young fawn and its family, Jill and Stanley join forces to protect the colonies of deer who have grazed the land for generations.

All is well until they receive news that a developer has purchased the forest and plans to build a larger “colony” of their own.

Determined to preserve the beauty before them, the two vow to fight for their newfound friends and a greener world.

Matthew Briggs, senior Speech and Theatre Education major, is directing the show.

“‘Top Secret Deer Daycare’ reminds us to look around and embrace the world surrounding us,” Briggs said. “The play is about forming new friendships and using the human voice for good. Audiences will leave with a renewed sense of hope and a deeper understanding of the daily fight over our forests. This play invites young audiences to become friends of nature and obtain an awareness and deeper knowledge for how to protect the environment and its inhabitants. Featuring puppetry and dance, this theatrical experience will transport audiences to the ‘edge of the forest’ as they join Jill and Stanley in a fight for the environment.”

The cast of “Top Secret Deer Daycare” includes Marsh as Jill Terwilleger; Julia Wolz as Mom; Drew Sinnard as Stanley Crawford; Alec Bridges as Dad; Sabrina Ortiz as Mrs. Crawford; Rachel Curry as Salesperson; Christina Foster as Council Member; Molly Ross as Developer Miller; and Trevor Jones as Ranger Manuel.

The Deer/Movement Ensemble includes Curry, Foster, Zoe Lepper and Ross.

The production team includes Director Briggs; Faculty Mentor John Wilson; Assistant Director Iliana Miller; Stage Manager Tanis Ham; Scenic Designer Emily Coffin; Technical Director Kyle Yorg; Scenic Design and Technical Directing Mentor Ken George; Costume Designer Kayla Helms; Costume Design Mentor Jennifer Van Buskirk; Lighting Designer Kelsi Richardson; Lighting Design Mentor Ben Gonzales; Sound Designer Chasen Brown; Hair and Make-up Designer Ashton Bennett; Puppet Master Foster; Props Master Katie Marshall; Assistant Stage Manager Miller; Choreographer Briggs; Assistant Costume Designer Demetrius Hampton; Master Electrician Mekdelawit Keller; Deck Crew Elizabeth Riggs; Light Board Operator Katelyn Harmon; Sound Board Operator Maggie Wallisch; costume crew members Anna Braman and Morghan Walters; costume shop assistants Kenlyn Shettlesworth, Maryn Edwards, Cydni Stanford, Hampton, Richardson; Box Office Manager Blake Legens; Assistant Box Office Managers Brooklyn Talley and Anna Maloney; Marketing/Publicity Director Dr. Aaron Scully; Assistant Marketing/Publicity Director Ortiz; Social Media Marketing Lead Bennett; Marketing Media Content Manager Derek Caswell; Publicity/Marketing team members Emily Layt, Paige Tretter, Elizabeth Henks, Hampton and Ally Fields; Marketing/Publicity Videographer McKenzie Koppe; Podcast Engineer Danielle Sachse; Graduate Shop Assistant Callie Carmosino; UCM Theatre and Dance Office Professional Jane Tackett; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Administrative Assistant Heather Stringer; and Theatre and Dance Office Assistants Briggs, Layt and Tony Smith.

THEA 1600 Stagecraft class students, Yorg, Seth Holt, Coffin, Sofia Gotto, Te’ Nickerson and Alexis Brown constructed the set.

This production of “Top Secret Deer Daycare” is for all audiences.

Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for UCM faculty and staff and $20 for the general public.

Tickets can be purchased online at ucmo.edu/theatretickets, by calling (660) 543-8811 or at the box office at the Highlander Theatre between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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