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Utah's Longest Running City-Sponsored Children's Theatre Holds 38th Production

Harley Barnes

Flouncing poodle skirts, diner milkshakes, and boys with slicked-back hair set the scene for the play "Cindy Goes to the Sock Hop" at the Nibley City amphitheater this weekend. 

The Nibley City Children’s Theatre is the longest running city sponsored children’s theatre in the state of Utah and last weekend they put on their 38th production. The play told a 1950’s Cinderella story as part of the city’s weeklong heritage days celebration.

Being from Nibley myself, I played a mermaid in the city’s production of Peter Pan over 10 years ago. Much like this year’s play, the show included custom made costumes, singing, dancing. In my opinion, the shows get better and better each year.


Emily Rigby has directed the children’s theatre shows for the past four years and said the break they had to take last year because of COVID-19 makes this year’s production extra special. 


“My favorite part is seeing how many people come together and work," she said. "Like hundreds of hours of moms and dads setting things up and making costumes and painting scenery. To see it all come together, and that the community all came together to put it on is the best.”


Alannah Darrington is one of the volunteers Rigby is referring to. Darrington performed in the plays as a child and now works as the costume manager. While shoo-bop skirts and letterman jackets were a key piece of this year’s costumes, the purple mice rompers Darrington and her team made for the magic mice in the show were one of her favorite parts. 


“Kids wore rompers in the 50’s when they were younger so I really wanted to have that in the play," she said.


Performing in the community plays is something Darrington said shaped her.


“I’m a lot more confident than maybe I would have been if I hadn’t done the play," she said.  


This year more than 200 children participated in the play and have been practicing weekly since the beginning of June. 


Adam Saunders played the head of the greaser boys in this year’s production and says the best part of the play is being on stage. 


“My favorite part is probably being head and just sitting there like, ‘yeah you all need to listen to me,'" he said.


Lilly Spaulding played a shoo-bop girl named Alice. 


“I’m most excited for when I go on stage," she said.


Both the kids said even though they were a little  nervous, they were excited to have their families see what they had been working on. And Rigby, their director, said that is what it is all about. 


Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated to reflect that the Nibley Children's Theatre is the longest running city-sponsored children's theatre in the state.

Harley is a news reporter at UPR. She covers a bit of everything, but especially news dealing with education and updates from the governor. She has always loved both writing and public speaking, so radio is perfect for her. She is a student at USU studying journalism, sociology, and criminal justice. Outside of work and school, she loves running, hiking, and exploring National Parks.