Lessons from the ‘Knuffle Bunny’

Students, community enjoy variety at Clayton Center

One of the goals of the Clayton Center for the Arts first season schedule was to provide variety.

In the last three weeks, audiences at the Clayton Center have a seen a production featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” and a children’s performance with “Knuffle Bunny.”

Still on the horizon is a trio based on the music of Dave Brubeck, a dinner experience with Groucho Marx and a duo who juggle everything, including chainsaws.

Following the Feb. 22 “Knuffle Bunny” production, Clayton Center for the Arts executive director Robert Hutchens said the elementary school students and teachers enjoyed the show.

“The teachers who saw it thought it was wonderful. Honestly, it was amazing to me how perfectly targeted it was to kids between the ages of 4 and 7. I had seen it in Washington, and the kids there laughed and laughed, and they did here, too. That was very gratifying,” he said. “We had kids from Sevier, Monroe and Knox counties, in addition to Blount County, so that was also a plus for us. We are beginning to draw from outside the boundaries of Blount County.”

Hutchens said another positive from the show was that the cast spent time talking to Maryville College theater students.

“They were letting them know what it is like to be a professional actor and to tour and how rigorous that is,” he said. “They travel around the country in buses and trucks. It is not easy, but these actors were brilliant.”

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