Mill Mountain Theatre’s Free Touring Musical of Peter Rabbit Promotes Literacy

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Mill Mountain Theatre is about to hop into the summer with A Peter Rabbit Tale: A Children’sMusical? opening June 1st. Performances of A Peter Rabbit Tale?? will tour to outreach venues around the region to promote reading through engaging performance. Admission is free and books will be given to students without cost but with the promise to complete a survey so MMT can monitor the program’s impact.

Beatrix Potter’s classic story A Peter Rabbit Tale?  comes to life in this spirited children’s musical, touring the Roanoke Valley this summer. Peter Rabbit has begun to believe that being a rabbit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. His mother is always making him do chores and he’s had enough of his goody-two-shoes twin sisters: Flopsy and Mopsy. After being picked on for the last time, Peter decides to run away from home. When he encounters difficulties living with feisty squirrels and sewing mice, he discovers that home might not be too bad after all.

MMT will perform a version of the story at parks, libraries and other neighborhood venues in Roanoke, Roanoke County, Salem, Smith Mountain Lake, and Vinton and at special shows for students enrolled in the Roanoke City Public Schools summer enrichment program. The cast is composed of college-level or recent graduate drama students, who are hired as summer apprentices, especially for this project.

The reading and literacy program was developed in 2015 when Roanoke Public City Schools administrators asked MMT to develop a multi-year project to supplement schools’ efforts to raise student reading score and help efforts for accreditation of all Roanoke primary and elementary schools. In partnership with Blue Ridge Literacy and Roanoke Refugee

Resettlement Service, we also help their clients learn to use English as a primary language.

When children receive free books at Mill Mountain Theatre shows, staffers ask for email addresses so we can send their families links to questionnaires. This feedback tells us the impact we have on the development of reading skills. In the 2018 season, MMT distributed 1,464 books; 77 percent of the children who received these books reported reading them and 83 percent expressed interest in visiting area libraries.

A Peter Rabbit Tale? features Gianni Palmarini, Leonella Hernandez, Jake Ellsworth, Mikayla Cohen, and Briar Boggs. A Peter Rabbit Tale? is Directed and Choreographed by Michelle LoRicco, Music Directed by Emma Gwin, Stage Managed by Caroline Ragland, Tour Managed by Pat LoRicco, Scenic & Props Design by Matt Shields, Costume Design by Cole Spivia, and Technical Direction by Karen Gierchak.

A Peter Rabbit Tale: A Children’s Musical? begins performances on June 1st and runs until July 13 touring all over the Roanoke Valley. All performances are free. Be sure to visit millmountain.org/peter-rabbit to download a performance calendar and learn more.?