This Friday, January 12, stage lights will flicker and the murmurs of an expectant audience will fill the auditorium of Wheatland High School. A group of resilient middle schoolers will huddle backstage, hearts pounding with excitement and nerves. Clad in costumes and armed with determination, these young actors will captivate the audience with their play, "The Bullying Collective" in a performance that almost didn’t happen.
The theater students of Wheatland Middle School had planned a production of the play "The Bullying Collection", a collection of 10 minute plays or, “shorts”, providing different perspectives to the common problem of Bullying. Their principal approved the script and they got to work, spending nine weeks and over 70 hours of rehearsals. Understandably, the student actors were devastated to have the principal rescind his approval and cancel the show 24 hrs before opening night after watching a preview performance. His reason for canceling? The show was "inappropriate", "not in line with the values of the school" and, "promoted LGBT".
The director of the show attempted to save the performance and allow the students to showcase all of their hard work by offering to drop the one scene that was not included in the sample script the principal had approved from Broadway Licensing Global just 9 weeks prior. He refused, claiming that the “entire show” - the show he had supposedly read and approved - was inappropriate.
Upon hearing the troubling news of censorship in Wheatland, The Wyoming Family Alliance for Freedom knew THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Thankfully these students had many parents, directors, and a theater community that quickly went to work and can happily say IT WILL GO ON - as a production with the Platte County Players. The show is scheduled for 7 PM Friday, January 12, 2024 at Wheatland High School 1207 13th St, Wheatland, WY 82201.
We invite all who can to attend. Please RSVP as "going" (not just "interested") on the WYFAF facebook event page HERE, to help us get a rough estimate of the number of folks attending.
Admission is free, but donations are welcome. A donation page has been set up by WYFAF at THIS LINK. 100% of proceeds collected by WYFAF will go to the Platte County Players and help fund future youth productions free from censorship. Even if you are unable to attend, we encourage all that are able to make a donation in support of these young thespians. Your contribution will show these kids how much we appreciate their freedom of expression and that they have the support of a wider community. Let them know there are many who will not standby quietly when people attempt to silence the voices of others.
Many from Laramie County will caravan from Cheyenne to the show. If you are interested in carpooling to the event from Cheyenne, or in organizing a caravan from your community, reach out to WYFAF via email, or message us on Facebook, or Instagram. Together, we can make this event a moment of unity and encouragement for these aspiring young actors.
The censorship of art and free expression is not a Wyoming value. Students everywhere experience bullying daily. Seeing art that sparks conversations about what to do when they encounter it is an incredible benefit for youth regularly navigating these situations. We are so proud of these students and the efforts of their Wyoming community to support this important performance. Join us in a celebration of the freedom to perform by attending the show or with your monetary donation by Friday, January 12th.