University of Central Missouri Theatre and Dance presents the world premiere production of Theatre for Young Audience’s award-winning play “Top Secret Deer Daycare."

The production runs from Oct. 23-26. Due to technical issues in the Highlander Theatre, this production has been moved to the Black Box Theatre at Nickerson Hall on the UCM campus for the duration of the run.  Show times are 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23; 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24; 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct 25; and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.

Written by Laura Shamas, the play unfolds as Jill, who moves with her parents from the city into a new house at the edge of the forest, discovers a naturalist boy named Stanley sitting just beyond her backyard fence line. Captivated and intrigued by the sudden emergence of a young fawn and its family, Jill and Stanley join forces to protect the colonies of deer who have grazed the land for generations. All is well until they receive news that a developer has purchased the forest and plans to build a larger “colony” of their own. Determined to preserve the beauty before them, the two vow to fight for their newfound friends and a greener world.

Matthew Briggs, a senior who will earn a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theatre Education in the spring, is directing the show. When asked about the show, he stated that “’Top Secret Deer Daycare’ reminds us to look around and embrace the world surrounding us. The play is about forming new friendships and using the human voice for good. Audiences will leave with a renewed sense of hope and a deeper understanding of the daily fight over our forests.

This play invites young audiences to become friends of nature and obtain an awareness and deeper knowledge for how to protect the environment and its inhabitants. Featuring puppetry and dance, this theatrical experience will transport audiences to the 'edge of the forest' as they join Jill and Stanley in a fight for the environment."

The cast of “Top Secret Deer Daycare” includes Heather Marsh as Jill Terwilleger; Julia Wolz as Mom; Drew Sinnard as Crawford; Alec Bridges as Dad; Sabrina Ortiz as Mrs. Crawford; Rachel Curry as Salesperson; Christina Foster as Council Member; Molly Ross as Developer Miller; and Trevor Jones as Ranger Manuel. The Deer/Movement Ensemble includes Rachel Curry, Christina Foster, Zoe Lepper and Molly Ross.

The Production Team includes Director, Matthew Briggs; Faculty Mentor, John Wilson; Assistant Director, Iliana Miller; Stage Manager, Tanis Ham; Scenic Designer, Emily Coffin; Technical Director, Kyle Yorg; Scenic Design and Technical Directing Mentor, Ken George; Costume Designer, Kayla Helms; Costume Design Mentor, Jennifer Van Buskirk; Lighting Designer, Kelsi Richardson; Lighting Design Mentor, Ben Gonzales; Sound Designer, Chasen Brown; Hair and Make-up Designer, Ashton Bennett; Puppet Master, Christina Foster; Props Master, Katie Marshall; Assistant Stage Manager, Iliana Miller; Choreographer, Matthew Briggs; Assistant Costume Designer, Demetrius Hampton; Master Electrician, Mekdelawit Keller; Set Construction, THEA 1600 Stagecraft class, Kyle Yorg, Seth Holt, Emily Coffin, Sofia Gotto, Te’ Nickerson and Alexis Brown; Deck Crew, Elizabeth Riggs; Light Board Operator, Katelyn Harmon; Sound Board Operator, Maggie Wallisch; Costume Crew, Anna Braman and Morghan Walters; Costume Shop Assistants, Kenlyn Shettlesworth, Maryn Edwards, Cydni Stanford, Demetrius Hampton, Kelsi Richardson; Box Office Manager, Blake Legens;

Assistant Box Office Managers, Brooklyn Talley and Anna Maloney; Marketing/Publicity Director, Dr. Aaron Scully; Assistant Marketing/Publicity Director, Sabrina Ortiz; Social Media Marketing Lead, Ashton Bennett; Marketing Media Content Manager, Derek Caswell; Publicity/Marketing Team Members, Emily Layt, Paige Tretter, Elizabeth Henks, Demetrius Hampton and Ally Fields; Marketing/Publicity Videographer, McKenzie Koppe; Podcast Engineer, Danielle Sachse; Graduate Shop Assistant, Callie Carmosino; UCM Theatre and Dance Office Professional, Jane Tackett; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Administrative Assistant, Heather Stringer; and Theatre and Dance Office Assistants, Matthew Briggs, Emily Layt and Tony Smith.

This production of “Top Secret Deer Daycare” is for all audiences.

Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for UCM Faculty/Staff and $20 for the general public.  They can be purchased online at, by calling 660-543-8811, or at the Box Office at the Highlander Theatre between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, Oct.16.

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