Heather Ashton and Christian Jolley play Mary Lennox and Dickon in the theater department’s production of “The Secret Garden.” PHOTO COURTESY OF LYNDI BONE/UVU REVIEW

Unlike the musical version, the theater department’s production of “The Secret Garden” focuses more on the children of the story, opening the show up for a more family centered audience


Children often possess an innate sense of curiosity, wonder and optimism. As they grow, they often lose those beliefs and instincts that were once so much a part of them. However, through the theater arts, adults can be reminded of what they forgot long ago.


“The Secret Garden” is the latest production by the theater department. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett and adapted by Pamela Sterling, the play tells the story of three children who come together to remind adults of the light that can be found in the every day.


While many people may be familiar with the musical version of the story, this production is different in more ways than just being non-musical. “The musical tells the adult version of the story,” said Dr. John Newman, director of the play. “This adaptation is much more about the children.”


Geared more towards children, the play focuses on the children in the story, offering strong characters for the audience to connect with. “For me, [the story] has to do with the protagonist. It’s told from a young person’s perspective,” Newman said. “From beginning to end, this is Mary’s story.” The play also tells the story with the use of music, projections and puppetry. According to Newman, children are often more open to these forms of theatrics.


The cast has been working on the production since Oct., though a two and a half week break was taken over the Christmas holiday. The play will run longer than normal for a theater production. “Usually we do two weeks with everyday performances or three weeks performing on the weekends,” Newman said.


“The Secret Garden” will run for four weeks with performances every evening of the week, excluding Wednesdays and Sundays. There will also be matinee shows on Saturdays. “We think family audiences will be coming out more,” Newman said, explaining the longer run.


However, there will be no performances on Saturday, Feb. 11 in order for a few cast members to participate in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival up at Weber State College.


Kelly Cannon – Life Editor