The Department of Theatre and Dance Springs into a New Season Showcasing Mountains of Talent on University Stages

Boats, Pirouettes, Eeyore, Blood... and More!
by Molly Wells

BOONE, N.C. - The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance is located within the mountain town of Boone, North Carolina. It has designed a dynamic spring 2024 season to showcase the variety of student, faculty, and staff talents harbored within the department. The season begins with a historical, gender-bending work by a female playwright, followed by a versatile dance concert, a heartwarming, childhood favorite, and an enigmatic musical based on a Stephen King novel.

The various productions will grace the popular Valborg stage as well as the intimate I.G. Greer Studio Theatre throughout the spring semester starting in February 2024. Tickets for each production are available online through the department of theatre and dance website, by phone, and in person at The Schaefer Center for the Arts Box Office.

"This spring season was selected with Appalachian students in mind," said Department Chair and Theatre Professor Michael Helms. "The slate offers a variety of acting, singing, and dancing opportunities for our performers, and unusual challenges for our design team that audience members will enjoy seeing come to fruition."

Mike Helms, Theatre and Dance ChairChairperson Mike Helms

Helms noted that Men on Boats is directed by a woman, written by a female playwright and requires an all-female and/or non-binary cast. The play gives underrepresented individuals a chance to have their voices heard, while mandating intentional and inclusive casting practices.

"Winnie the Pooh highlights the educational value of theater for young people and provides a performance opportunity for our future arts educators," Helms said in describing the season. "The Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble (SADE) is an amalgamation of dance pieces representing a variety of movement styles and choreography, half of which is being created by student choreographers. Finally, Carrie: The Musical is a vocally demanding, infamous musical theatre work that provides students a welcome chance to challenge themselves and further develop their talents."

Members of the general public, including local residents and visitors to the High Country, are cordially invited to join the campus community to enjoy offerings by the Department of Theatre and Dance. The department values their patronage and aims to continue offering entertaining, impactful, and meaningful productions for audiences of all ages.

In concluding his remarks on the spring season, Helms states, "We are excited to bring this slate of shows to the stage, primarily because our students are excited about them; their fervor is contagious, and we all share their enthusiasm."

A full listing of the Department of Theatre and Dance Spring 2024 season is as follows:

Men on Boats
By Jaclyn Backhaus
February 28 - March 3, 2024
Valborg Theatre
Directed by Dr. Gina Grandi
Students $10, Faculty/Staff $15, Adults $17

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of loyal followers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River. Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

Gina GrandiDr. Gina Grandi

Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble
April 3 – April 7, 2024
Valborg Theatre
Students $10, Faculty/Staff $15, Adults $17

The concert is coordinated by Dance Studies faculty members Laurie Atkins and Emily Daughtridge, with faculty choreography by Atkins, Daughtridge, Carrie Plew, and Sherone Price. Student choreographers for SADE include Dance Studies majors Emma Rose Farmer, Brynn Hughes, Shannon Retzloff, and Kylie Venticinque.

The Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble (SADE) is a popular semi-annual concert featuring Appalachian State faculty and students, showcasing their choreography and/or dance skills. The 2024 dance concert includes original choreography for eight different pieces performed each night of SADE.

Appalachian Young People's Theatre: Winnie the Pooh
Adapted by Gordon Hensley
April 12 – 14. 2024
Greer Studio Theatre
Adapted and Directed by Gordon Hensley
All Tickets $5

For nearly a century, the timeless tales of Winnie-the-Pooh and his beloved companions have captivated hearts worldwide. Originally written by A.A. Milne as a gift for his son, Christopher Robin, these endearing characters come to life once more through this lighthearted and interactive stage production. While written for students from kindergarten to third grade, all ages can revisit their inner child as Winnie-The-Pooh weaves its charming narrative. This nontraditional version of a traditional favorite is adapted for the stage by Gordon Hensley.

Carrie: The Musical
Music by Michael Gore
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the novel by Stephen King
April 24 – 28, 2024
Valborg Theatre
Directed by Kevin Warner
Musical Direction by Dr. Joby Bell
Students $10, Faculty/Staff $15, Adults $17

Carrie White is a teenage outcast who longs to fit in. At school, she's bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she's dominated by her loving but cruelly controlling mother. What none of them know is that Carrie's just discovered she's got a special power, and if pushed too far, she's not afraid to use it. Produced by Special Arrangement with Concord Theatricals and is intended for mature audiences only. Carrie: The Musical is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals:

Kevin WarnerMr. Kevin Warner

All evening performances begin promptly at 7 p.m. with matinee curtains at 2 p.m.

For directions to the Valborg Theatre and information about campus parking during these events, please see Visitor Parking.


About the Department of Theatre and Dance
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Theatre and Dance's mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and the public, which cultivate compassionate, creative, and collaborative communities through theatre and dance. The department also offers coursework for integrated learning through the arts to the general university student population. Its dynamic co-curricular production program provides exemplary theatre and dance experiences to departmental students, the university community, and the region.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University's College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Media Contact:
Keith Martin
Department of Theatre and Dance
Appalachian State University
Phone: 828-262-8179

Published: Jan 25, 2024 2:40pm