For Immediate Release
All Zones
April 3, 2000
For More Information Contact:
Roxane M. Geraci at (219) 980-6686
Indiana University Northwest
Office of Marketingand Communications
rgeraci@iunhaw1.iun.indiana.edu
Performing Arts Student Committed to Children and Creativity

Bringing out the joy and creativity in children is a major goal forIndiana University Northwest senior,Jennifer Heavner of Hammond. As a theatre major at the university, Heavnerwill serve as narrator for the upcoming children’s play, James and theGiant Peach, on April 8 and 9 at 2:30 p.m. in TheatreNorthwest. 

This isn’t the first children’s production that Heavner has performedin and according to her, it won’t be the last. After graduation she plansto continue working with children on stage and off, as she sees it as notonly giving back to the community, but also giving children a chance todevelop and grow through creative thought. 

 “A good example of this was when I taught a dramatic arts workshopfor the Gary Community Arts Foundation last summer. A shy, scrawny, teenyyoung girl came in and didn’t say much to anyone, within a few weeks shenot only bloomed, but wanted to be the star,” Heavner said while chuckling.“For me, I know I made a difference in a life. I love that.”

Heavner has been involved in the theatre since her high school yearsat Bishop Knoll where she says “everything just sort of happened” to pushher toward acting.

“I had this wonderful drama teacher, Fredi Conley, and she encouragedme toward the theatre – and I found that I loved it,” says Heavner.  

Being part of a theatre production is not just all fun and creativity.In fact, it’s no easy feat. Rehearsing 15 hours a week since February forJames and the Giant Peach besides keeping up with other classes and parttime jobs, is something all who are involved must learn to coordinate withintheir lives. The two community performances on April 8 and 9 are just twoof the productions scheduled for the play. For 2 1/2 weeks straight, theywill also perform James and the Giant Peach to over 15 local schools. 

The play, directed by Theatre Northwest’s JerryTaylor, is based on the book by Roald Dahl. It’s a story about a magicalpeach, an imprisoned boy, insect friends, and an incredible journey. Dramatizedby Richard George, the play reveals the wickedness of some, the goodnessof others, and the indecision encountered by many when they are faced withcrises.

“We have a great cast and put a lot into this, ” says Heavner, addingthat all the work is well worth it. “When we perform for children, it’sunlike adult audiences who may be afraid to laugh or express themselvesduring a production. With kids as an audience it is just so incredible.They are so honest and open. When you goof up, they let you know it, ifyou’re funny, they laugh. Performing for children is amazing and wonderful.”

For more information on James and the Giant Peach or the performingarts program at IU Northwest, telephone219-980-6808 or go to the performingarts website.

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