Manhattan High School thespians will stage the premiere performance of an anti-bullying play by 1964 MHS alumnus Richard Broadhurst on May 16.
Students will perform “Barnyard” at Rezac Auditorium at 7 p.m. as a fundraiser for their trip to Scotland from July 27 to Aug. 11.
The theater students are bound for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will also perform the 50-minute play while they’re abroad as part of the American High School Theatre Festival. MHS is one of 38 schools nationwide that get to make the trip and one of three Kansas schools that were invited, drama director Linda Uthoff said.
Broadhurst has worked with MHS students three times before. He lives in Sacramento and is known for his stage plays and screenwriting, including for the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
Having written “Barnyard” specifically for the Manhattan High students’ fundraiser, Broadhurst also plans to make a documentary that explores bullying using his alma mater for footage and drawing from his own experiences. “Barnyard” uses animals to depict bullying themes.
Utoff said that seven students will be heading overseas for the trip. She said the cost to students is about $6,000 per person, and to help reduce that expense, the drama department has raised $9,200 so far.
A gala will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for donors who have contributed $100 or more toward the trip. Doors will be open to the general public at 6:45. Donations will be accepted at the door.
The fundraiser will feature tours of MHS renovations and new construction, and a meet-and-greet with Broadhurst, his documentary filmmaker and the cast and crew of “Barnyard.”
Patrons also will get to hear the MHS string quartet, Forza Femina.