The final production of the Butterfield Stage Theater youth season, “The Hobbit,” will be presented Aug. 4-6 and Aug. 11-13. Tickets are $10 and have already gone on sale.
“This is the first time Butterfield Stage has performed ‘The Hobbit,’” Butterfield Youth Director Shannon Rivoire said. “This is a full length production — not a scaled down version.”
The cast of 37 ranges in age from six to 17 and includes students from Gainesville, Lindsay, Muenster, Valley View and Whitesboro.
“It’s unusual for a modern work to become a classic so quickly, but Tolkien’s ring stories, which began with ‘The Hobbit,’ clearly are in this very special category,” a release from Butterfield said. “They stir the imagination and intellect of everyone they touch. Bilbo, played by Charlie Neelley, one of the most conservative of all Hobbits, is asked by the old wizard, Gandolf, played by Tucker Craft, to leave his large, roomy, and very dry home in the ground in order to set off as chief robber in an attempt to recover an important treasure.”
Reserved seats are available on the Butterfield website, www.butterfieldstage.org, or by calling the box office at 940-665 1284. The production is presented on the main stage at Butterfield located at 201 S. Denton Street in Gainesville.
“Butterfield’s first youth program started over 20 years ago, however the current program of year round activities started in 2014,” Rivoire said. “We offer spring and fall semester classes, summer camp and two full-length productions a year. This December we will be presenting ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.’”
Youth theater is important, Rivoire said, because it teaches a wide range of skills, including teamwork, memorization, public speaking, social skills and problem solving. It is not uncommon, Rivoire said, for children who participated in youth productions to be a part of main stage productions because they develop a love for theater.
“It improves creativity and builds self confidence,” she said. “We have several Gainesville High School students that are acting alongside elementary and junior high kids. It is great to see them helping out the younger kids and leading by example. This is a fantastic cast and they have been working incredibly hard to bring this show to life.”