Anti-bullying themes of 'Dear Mrs. Patterson' resonate - FOX 35 News Orlando

Anti-bullying themes of 'Dear Mrs. Patterson' resonate with audiences

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OCALA, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) -

There will be aspecial community outreach performance of the Ocala Civic Theatre EducationDepartment's fall school tour show, Dear Mrs. Patterson, on Monday,November 19 at 7 p.m. at the Theatre.

Dear Mrs. Patterson was performed at 23 local schoolsthis fall for thousands of students in grades 3-5 and their teachers. Theshow's anti-bullying message, requested by school administrators, had aprofound emotional impact on students.

Due to the overwhelming response and toprovide an opportunity for a wider audience to see the show, the Theatre will presentthis final performance of Dear Mrs. Patterson. Anyone is welcome toattend. The performance is free, but donations to the Ocala Civic TheatreEducation Department are always gratefully accepted.

Playwright Shannon DiNigro Enders wrote the show specificallyfor Ocala Civic Theatre's school tour after interviewing students ages 6-16about their experiences with bullying. Their real-life stories are toldin the play as fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Patterson shares from past students'journals.

These dramatic monologues are performed by a cast offour actors: Ryan Brooks, Jessica Mongerio, Melanie Tarter,and Jonathan Williams. Each actor plays many different roles frommultiple points of view: bullies, bystanders, "upstanders," and victims.

The stories aredeeply moving. Powerful segments feature children who were bullied for beingpoor, in foster care, disabled, or mentally challenged. Director Greg Thompsonalso incorporated music and dance to help tell these stories and artisticallyexpress the show's concept while making it more accessible to young viewers.

The Ocala Civic Theatre school tour show is offeredfree to area schools and is sponsored in part by Marion Cultural Alliance andthe State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and theFlorida Council on Arts and Culture.


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