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The Arts

NEYT tackles bullying in season’s first show

BRATTLEBORO—New England Youth Theatre will tackle issues such as xenophobia, bullying, and forgiveness March 6-14 with the timeless tale The Hundred Dresses, the kickoff show of NEYT’s Mainstage 2020 season.

Based on the award-winning book by Eleanor Estes and written by Mary Hall Surface, the story follows Wanda Petronski, a young girl who simply wants to have fun and make friends, just like every other child; but in 1930s small-town America, a Polish immigrant doesn’t easily fit in.

“This play is important because awareness of bullying needs to be raised. There are also different kinds of bullying. Bullying someone because of racial stereotypes is something that needs to be addressed more often, especially in this country,” Sydney Quinn Chute, a young NEYT actor, said in a news release.

“You have to have compassion for everyone. You have to know you are not alone,” adds Kahlyn White, another Hundred Dresses participant.

“Theatre is by its very nature collaborative and inclusive. Everybody matters and everybody has an important job to do. The stories we tell are about how to really see other people, people that you might not normally look at or listen to,” said director Rebecca Waxman.

Waxman added that “always, and especially now — in such a divisive culture — telling a story about empathy and being an ally feels right. It is paramount that we do a story about making room for all kinds of people, including those who don’t feel included. I think it will really resonate with any human.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #548 (Wednesday, February 12, 2020). This story appeared on page B3.

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