A new play performance program at USD 382 will focus on middle school students.

Young actors will soon have a chance to perform in their own play production. Liberty Middle School students will audition on Sept. 26 and 27 for a new LMS after school play program.

Rose Beilman, Pratt High School drama instructor, is spearheading this new venture that is designed to get LMS students involved with a play production just for them.

Beilman said LMS offers a safe, kid-friendly environment where children are the top priority in a new activity.

Liberty Middle School offers lots of sports options for students but not much in the way of performing arts outside of music. Students who are not involved in sports or are in the fifth or sixth grade may want to get involved with the new program.

Beilman said she thought it would be something fun for the students to do and LMS Principal Tony Helfrich and USD 382 Superintendent of Schools Suzan Patton both liked the idea.

The play will be "The Girl With the Golden Locks." It's a spy story mixed up with some classic fairy tales including Goldie Locks and the Three Bears. There are three spies from the Fairy Tale Bureau of Intelligence. The show is full of puns and should be a lot of fun, Beilman said.

Students in Beilman's speech and drama classes will assist at each rehearsal during the week. The high school students also learn a lot during the rehearsal process. Rehearsals will run for five to six weeks after school. The presentation of "The Girl With the Golden Locks" is set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 9 and 10 in the Liberty Middle School Auditorium.

Beilman said her goals for this program are to help students build confidence and theater does that beautifully. Play rehearsals incorporate games, rehearsals, acting and improvisation. These activities will help build student skills in presentation and performance. It also helps students feel more comfortable in public and helps build a sense of community by getting the students involved in more activities.

While sports, like cross county, helps build that sense of community, there's nothing quite like it for theater and public speaking. This new program will help build that sense of community and ownership for the students, Beilman said.

The middle school play is focused on LMS students. Those LMS students also participate in the high school play productions including The Phantom of the Opera that was performed on Sept. 9 and 10. But this new program is specifically aimed at middle school students and will provide more of them with a chance to show off their abilities.

Beilman said she is volunteering her time for this project because she loves kids and she loves theater.

For more information about the middle school play, contact Beilman at rose.beilman@usd382.com.