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Appalachian Young People’s Theatre celebrates 45 years of smiles throughout the High Country, presents ‘The Mischief Makers’ April 21-23 on campus

By Nancye Edwards

BOONE, N.C.—The Appalachian Young People’s Theatre (AYPT), a touring student ensemble at Appalachian State University, will present Lowell Swortzell’s “The Mischief Makers” beginning April 21 on the university’s campus. Shows will be at 7 p.m. April 21 and at 2 p.m. April 22 and 23 in the I.G. Greer Studio Theater.

View larger imageThe cast of Appalachian Young People’s Theatre production of Lowell Swortzell’s “The Mischief Makers” includes Hannah Daniels as Reynard the Fox, Shane Buchheit as Anansi the Spider and Danielle Kerns as the Raven. Photo by Lynn WillisView larger imageAYPT tour manager Chelcie Williams, a junior theatre education major from Kannapolis, greets the audience at the start of the children’s play “The Mischief Makers.” The production runs on campus in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre April 21 at 7 p.m. and April 22 and 23 at 2 p.m. Photo by Lynn Willis

Inspired by traditional narratives from African, European and Native American cultures, “The Mischief Makers” introduces stories from three of the world’s favorite tricksters. The tricksters are Anansi the Spider from Africa, played by Shane Buchheit, a freshman theatre education major from Boone; the Raven from the Northwest Pacific American culture, played by Danielle Kerns, a junior theatre education major from Kernersville; and Reynard the Fox from Europe, played by Hannah Daniels, a sophomore theatre education major.

The characters brag about being the world’s greatest tricksters while acting out stories of their best pranks. The actors play various roles by adding costume pieces and altering their physicality and voices.

“Through the magic of theatre, it is our hope that child audiences as well as adults will find meaning and entertainment in the retelling of these timeless stories,” said the show’s director, Gordon Hensley, professor of theatre education in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian.

Established in 1972, AYPT performs for up to 6,500 young people in the public schools of Western North Carolina each spring, introducing some children to a live performance for the first time.

“AYPT impacts students because live theatre exposes them to something they have the ability to start doing, and it can inspire them to get more involved in the arts,” said Chelcie Williams, a junior theatre education major from Kannapolis who is serving as the tour manager for “The Mischief Makers.”

AYPT remains committed to bringing high quality, low-cost live theatre experiences to young audiences in North Carolina and the surrounding region.

“It’s great to perform on stage a few days a week, but the opportunity to perform in various schools throughout the community is an amazing experience,” said Krys Paschen, a junior theatre education major from Lincolnton who performed in last season’s AYPT production of “Aladdin: A Participation Play.”

“The energy from the kids is contagious, making every performance exciting and engaging for both the audience and the actors.”

Details about “The Mischief Makers” production

The Appalachian Young People’s Theatre at Appalachian State University will present Lowell Swortzell’s “The Mischief Makers” beginning April 21 in the I.G. Greer Studio Theatre on the university’s campus. Shows will be 7 p.m. April 21 and 2 p.m. April 22 and 23. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students. To purchase tickets for a performance, contact the Valborg Theatre box office at 828-262-3063, the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office toll-free at 800-841-ARTS (2787), or visit

About the Department of Theatre and Dance

The Department of Theatre and Dance is one of seven departments housed in Appalachian’s College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community and the region.

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.