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Nature heals the human spirit in YMCA’s “The Secret Garden”

 

The YMCA Drama Team presents “The Secret Garden” Friday, May 1, in Rent Auditorium. From left, Tolden Williams (“Ben Weatherstaff”), Josh McKay (“Colin Craven”) and Mikaela Green (“Mary Lennox”) rehearse a scene from the classic tale of a young girl who discovers an abandoned, walled garden that changes her life. Tolden is the son of Yolanda Williams; Josh’s parents are Trish and Steve McKay; and Mikaela is the daughter of Robin and Brent Green.

The YMCA Drama Team presents “The Secret Garden” Friday, May 1, in Rent Auditorium. From left, Tolden Williams (“Ben Weatherstaff”), Josh McKay (“Colin Craven”) and Mikaela Green (“Mary Lennox”) rehearse a scene from the classic tale of a young girl who discovers an abandoned, walled garden that changes her life. Tolden is the son of Yolanda Williams; Josh’s parents are Trish and Steve McKay; and Mikaela is the daughter of Robin and Brent Green. Photo by: Kelly Tippett

 

Launch Photo Gallery

 

From left, Kayne Whittle, Olivia Laws, Chelsea Lester and, standing in front, William Laws, practice for “The Secret Garden.” Kayne is the daughter of Michelle and Bill Whittle; Olivia and William’s parents are Jami and Bill Laws; and Chelsea is the daughter of Anita and Bill Lester.

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

One of literature''s most heart-warming classics is the inspiration for the YMCA Drama Team spring production. "The Secret Garden," based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, will be presented by the Frank P. Phillips YMCA troupe Friday, May 1, in Rent Auditorium on the Mississippi University for Women campus at 7 p.m. 

 


The one-night-only performance is a treat for adults and children, according to Director Terri Gillis. 

 


"It''s a story about the blossoming of the heart and the human spirit," Gillis said.  

 


A cast of 22 brings this story, set in 1911, to life. The play opens in a British colony of India and moves to an estate in England. Little "Mary Lennox," played by Mikaela Green, is orphaned by cholera and sent to England to live under the legal guardianship of an uncle, her only remaining relative and a reclusive widower. 

 


Through her discovery of a neglected, hidden garden -- and of a young cousin who needs nurturing as much as the garden does -- Mary and those around her are transformed.  

 


"It''s a very, very sweet story," the director remarked. "It''s got an inspiring message of discovery and hope; it will just make you happy." 

 


Gillis had no trouble filling roles for the spring play. Auditions attracted many more hopefuls than there were available parts for, but it''s a good sign for the continuing strength of the drama program, now in its eighth year. 

 


Tickets for the single performance are $6 in advance at any YMCA location, or $7 at the door. For more information about the presentation of "The Secret Garden," or about the drama program, contact the downtown Frank P. Phillips YMCA at 662-328-7696. 

 


 

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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