Northwestern students collaborate with middle schoolers for play

Jillian Sandler, Campus Editor

Snow will fall on Evanston this Friday when Northwestern students will collaborate with local middle schoolers to present a production of “The Snow Queen.”

Thirteen NU students and 14 students from Haven Middle School in Evanston will be featured in the production of the fairytale written by Hans Christian Andersen. The Theatre and Interpretation Center is presenting the show, which is part of the Struble Project, a three-year series of seven to 10 annual shows produced by NU students, TIC managing director Diane Claussen said in a University news release.

Director Sophie Rich, who came up with the idea for the production last year, said her interest in theater for young audiences inspired her to work with younger kids.

“My interest … was not only what the middle schoolers could learn … but what having that youthful energy and creativity in the room could do for college students,” the Communication senior said.

Carrie Seavoy, the show’s musical director, said the collaboration stemmed in part from connections facilitated by Communication Prof. Betsy Quinn, who works at both NU and Haven.

Rich said the idea for the production was approved last June, and she and Seavoy decided on “The Snow Queen” shortly after. Auditions for the roles took place at the beginning of Fall Quarter, Seavoy said.

The story follows a young girl’s journey to save her friend who was taken away by the evil Snow Queen and put under a spell. Along the way, the heroine meets several interesting characters, including a talking reindeer and rose bush.

Seavoy said the pair chose “The Snow Queen” because it contains an element of fantasy and offers moral lessons for kids.

“It’s a testament to the power of friendship and the ability of children to be their own heroes,” the Bienen and Weinberg senior said.

Rich said the story is appealing because everyone can relate to it.

“We can all use our common experiences to create these magical experiences with our imaginations and our bodies,” she said.

The show’s production process has been mutually beneficial for the NU students and their younger counterparts, Rich said. The younger students had the opportunity to learn about theater from their older peers, and the students from NU had a chance to “tap back into childhood.”

The show will be performed Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are free and will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.