Reynolds Performance Hall has a great line-up scheduled for the 2018-19 Mainstage Education Series. Starting its fourth year, the series brings international and national professional touring companies to UCA, introducing Arkansas students of all ages to the performing arts, many for the first time.  

Up first, on Tuesday, October 30, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., is “Diary of a Worm, a Spider, & a Fly,” an upbeat musical based on the three books by Doreen Cronin. Best friends, Worm, Spider and Fly, learn lessons about the earth and its eco-system as well as tolerance for others.  Students will learn a lot about insects and will be wiggling in their seats to the beat of the rap, hip-hop and boogie-woogie musical numbers.

On Monday, November 12, “The Science of Magic with Bill Blagg” comes to the Reynolds stage, taking students on a rare, never-before-seen journey “behind the scenes” of the magic world.  With school performances at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., students will discover firsthand how magicians use science to create the impossible during this comedy-filled, action-packed interactive presentation.

Reynolds rings in Christmas with “Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells Batman Smells,”  produced by Wally Jones & Casa Manana Theatre. Everyone’s favorite first grader and the students in Room One create the perfect holiday party.  And as a special treat, there will be an evening performance on Tuesday, December 18, at 6 p.m. in addition to the school performances at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19.

The performance hall kicks off Black History Month with a production of “Freedom Bound,” a one-act play about Addison White, an escaped slave, and the Underground Railroad, on Monday January 28. “Freedom Bound,” with school performances at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., brings history to life through original songs and an array of characters.

“Pete the Cat,” based on the popular book series by Kimberly and James Dean, will be at Reynolds for three performances on Friday, March 15.  In addition to the school performances at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., there will be a special evening performance at 6 p.m.  Join Jimmy Biddle and Pete in a new adventure of friendship and inspiration!

Wrapping up a year of stellar events will be “Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium” on Monday, April 29 at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  From the creators of “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” comes a new adventure at the bottom of the ocean.  Students will be immersed in oceans where prehistoric marine reptiles lived eons ago – and may still live today.  Using actors, technology, puppets, science and imagination, Erth shows are fun for the whole family. That’s why there will also be a Sunday matinee performance, April 28 at 3 p.m.

Tickets for the evening performances, $5 for students and $10 for adults, go on sale August 6.  Reservations for school performances begin August 7 and will be made on a first come, first serve basis. Teachers are encouraged to make reservations early because Reynolds expects 11,000 students to attend this year’s performances. Forms will be available on the website, http://uca.edu/publicappearances/mainstage/ and may be emailed to Reynolds@uca.edu or faxed to 501-852-2375.  

Tickets for the school performances are $5 per student, thanks to the contributions of sponsors and donors, grants, and fundraising efforts of Reynolds  Performance Hall to keep ticket prices low.  

“In 2016, Dan Dipert read an article about Mainstage and the Dan Dipert Foundation paid for all the sixth-graders from Southside Bee Branch, his hometown, to come to see “Rosa Parks,” said Amanda Horton, director of Reynolds Performance Hall, “That’s just one of many stories of contributions from people who believe in the importance of exposing young people to the performing arts.”

If you would like to help sponsor the Mainstage Education series, contact Amanda Horton at ahorton@uca.edu or 501-450-3682 for more information.  There are various levels of sponsorship available.

Schools may apply for a limited number of ticket vouchers for low-income students.  School groups receive one free adult chaperone ticket per 10 student tickets purchased. Additional adult tickets may be purchased through the school’s order for only $10.  There is also an option for students to eat lunch in the UCA cafeteria at a cost of $6 per student. Lunch reservations need to be made a week in advance with Nancy Fulmer at 501-450-5981.

Guidelines for age appropriateness are provided on the website as well as study guides which will assist with connecting the production to curriculum standards. Almost all the curriculum guides are already available for review. Just click on the name of the production for details on each performance.

Also, thanks to a grant from the MidAmerica Arts Alliance, there is a social story available on the website to help prepare very young students, as well as students with special needs, for their visit to Reynolds Performance Hall.