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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: 'Snow White' opens tonight

Alyssa Glover plays Esmeralda. Alyssa Glover plays Esmeralda.

Helen Byrd says people come to Hendersonville Elementary School's annual fall play expecting to see "a refrigerator box set and trash can costumes." Instead, they're stunned by the quality of the sound, lighting, costumes and most of all the actors on stage.

 

"By intermission they're running up to me, 'Oh, my gosh, Mrs. Byrd, I can't believe these are elementary school kids,'" she said.
Byrd sends home information about the annual play the second week of school, in July. She holds auditions the third week of school. The actors are rehearsing by the third week.
"This year we had 80 audition and we could only cast 25," she said.
The play, "Snow White," features the queen and Esmeralda, cats and all sorts of other animals.
"It's just remarkable that you could have third, fourth and fifth graders, many of whom have never been on stage before — it's remarkable to see what these children can do," Byrd said. "They are the characters. Their hearts and souls are into this and they are having a blast doing it."
A teacher since 1977, Byrd has been at Hendersonville Elementary since 1993. This is her ninth show at the school, and next to the last. She's retiring at the end of next school year.
"So far they haven't found anybody to take over the theater program," she said. "I do it because of the joy and blessing I get out of seeing how happy I make my children — my little actors — and how proud their families are of them. Also, I can provide a theater experience for kindergarten through fifth grade who may not get to see theater any other time."

"Snow White" will be performed 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the school gym. Tickets are $5 and $10 based on seating. Proceeds help pay for the theater program.