Rehearsals are under way for Fairmont State University’s Academy for the Arts Youth Company spring productions. This semester the Academy will be offering two shows for one evening of family fun. Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh Kids,” performed by local kindergarten through fifth graders, and “James and the Giant Peach,” performed by area sixth through 12th graders, take the stage on Wallman Hall from May 19 through May 22.

“Winnie the Pooh Kids” is a 30-minute show and will be performed first, followed by a short intermission, and then the 60-minute “James and the Giant Peach.” Performances of Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh Kids!” and “James and the Giant Peach Jr.” are planned for May 19, 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m. and May 22 at 2 p.m. in the Theatre, located on the fourth floor of Wallman Hall on FSU’s main campus. Tickets will go on sale May 9 and are $7 each. For ticket information, call the Box Office at (304) 367-4240.

“Winnie the Pooh Kids,” the 30-minute musical, designed for elementary-school aged performers, is based on the 2011 animated feature film and the writings of A.A. Milne. The FSU Youth Company cast is made up of 24 students led by Lakyn Arrick, an Academy drama teacher. This classic Disney title features three new songs from the hit film as well as classic Sherman Brothers songs from “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” The story is about friendship as Pooh and his Hundred Acre pals set out on an adventure in search of Christopher Robin.

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“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with these young people,” Arrick said. “This is a really exciting new opportunity for our elementary Academy students who saw the older kids last fall in ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ I am so glad that the Academy is able to provide these experiences to area youth to help foster their voices as young artists.”

“James and the Giant Peach,” the one-hour musical for middle and high school performers is based on the 1996 movie and the book of the same title by Roald Dahl. The FSU Youth Company “Peach” cast is made up of 18 students led by Tyler Kovar, also an Academy drama teacher. The show features a wonderful score with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and is a delightful, offbeat adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl adventure. A boy and his insect friends take an amazing journey across the ocean to escape the clutches of James’ conniving and wicked aunts, Spiker and Sponge.

The Fairmont State University Academy for the Arts offers classes in art, music, theatre and dance for children starting at age 3 through adult. The FSU Academy for the Arts is dedicated to providing students with quality training and exposure to the arts. Instruction in visual art, music and theatre enables students to appreciate, perform and create. The Academy utilizes Fairmont State facilities and highly qualified instructors drawn from Fairmont State faculty and area teachers. The Academy for the Arts is integral to FSU’s long standing identification with its community, in particular the cultural and social development of the region.

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