School Tour Planned For Play Written By St. Lawrence Professor
CANTON - An organization that works to create "peaceful schools" plans to tour New York State with performances of a play written by a St. Lawrence University professor that is based on a popular children's book with an anti-bullying message.
Associate Professor of Performance and Communication Arts Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead is the author of the one-act play Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, based on the book by Carol McCloud. Halstead obtained permission from McCloud to adapt her work for the play. In both the book and play, children learn about the "golden rule," and both have an emphasis on teaching that bullying is wrong.
The play and the book are available for purchase on Halstead's website, BucketFillingPlay.com.
Peaceful Schools has plans to perform the play at schools throughout central and northern New York beginning in the spring and continuing throughout the 2013-2014 school year. Peaceful Schools "seeks to lend support in creating caring and safe communities," by providing social-emotional learning and bullying prevention services and support nationwide.
Halstead first heard about McCloud's book at a meeting at her son's school, and says she was "thrilled" when McCloud gave her full permission to adapt it as a play. Set at a summer camp, the play includes some original characters, including the Bucket Filling Fairy (BFF), who speaks in rhyme, and Professor Smarty Pants III, a science professor "who loves to talk about himself." Her inspriation for that character? Halstead diplomatically says that he is a "composite."
Gifford Family Theatre, a professional youth theatre company in Syracuse, did a workshop production of the play in July of 2011, with Halstead serving as playwright-in-residence, revising the script in rehearsal. In December of 2011, Halstead directed St. Lawrence students in the updated version of the play in a performance for elementary school children in Canton.
Halstead graduated from LeMoyne College and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She recently starred in the short film Five Census for West Field Films, and has been seen on stage at Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake.