RU presents "Babe, the Sheep-Pig"


Cast member Joannah Shelton is fitted for her costume by costume designer Molly Roan and RU costume shop manager Kathleen Connor.

Radford University’s School of Dance and Theatre presents “Babe, the Sheep-Pig,” adapted from Dick King-Smith’s beloved tale about a little pig with a big heart. There are two public performances Nov. 15.

Directed by Associate Professor of theatre, Jennifer Juul, a troupe of actors leads the audience on Babe’s journey with comedy, music and storytelling. Playwright David Wood returns to King-Smith’s original book “The Sheep Pig” (published in the U.S. as “Babe, the Gallant Pig”) to give audiences a new twist on the 1995 movie.

Wood’s adaptation focuses on characters Babe, Fly (a Border collie), Farmer Hogget and Mrs. Hogget. Other actors in the all-student cast shift quickly among multiple roles to bring the Hogget farm to life.

The cast includes Maddie Cindrich in the title role; Kenzie VanDerwerker as Fly; Zach Goodman as Hogget and Amanda Barr as his wife. Other members of the cast who play several roles are Justin Dowdy, Morgan Hardy, Javonte' Hargrove, Justin Kline, Brandon Leatherland, Mac McMullen, Brittney Price, Johannah Shelton, Izzie Taveras, Lindsay Taylor and Mitch Woody.

And there are just as many people behind the scenes as there are onstage.

As with all theatre productions at RU, students and teachers work alongside one another in the manner of a professional theatre company. Student costume designer Molly Roan, lighting designer Stephanie Street, and Justin Dowdy on music and sound collaborate with faculty scenic designer Carl Lefko.

A combination of coursework, production experience and a work study job has prepared Roan, a senior, for her career in costume design. It blends her own artistry with the leadership skills a designer needs.

“My concept for ‘Babe’ includes costumes that are inspired by what men and women would wear working on a family farm with fun, colorful patterns,” she said.

Lefko said, “Working on a scenic design for a show like “Babe” has a tendency to keep us young. The process tends to be more magical and imaginative than many other genres.”

RU Theatre has a long-standing tradition of producing quality theatre for people of all ages in southwest Virginia, including hosting thousands of schoolchildren who take a field trip to campus to attend a performance.

A website accompanies the production. Although created especially for teachers and administrators as a study guide, all are welcome to explore
School or community groups also have the further option of a visit from RU faculty and students, either to present a performance or conduct a performance workshop. Please contact Associate Professor Jennifer Juul at for more information.

The play’s running time is approximately one hour. The Saturday, Nov. 15 public performances are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Tickets are available for purchase online at or through the RU Theatre box office (540-831-5289) the week of the show. General admission is $8, RU faculty and staff are $6, children are $4, and RU students with IDs are free.

Tickets are going fast for the school-day matinees scheduled for Nov. 17-20. Teachers interested in making a group reservation should contact Carl Lefko at 540-831-5012 or Tickets per student for school groups on these dates are $1.50 per child.

While “Babe, the Sheep-Pig” is a vibrant piece of physical theatre for younger children, the production is shaping up for both the young and the young-at-heart. Audiences will also hear, and might even want to sing along with, some of their favorite farm songs during the performance. A trip to attend live theatre can touch the heart like nothing else—especially when the characters themselves are as big-hearted as Babe.

Nov 7, 2014
Jennifer Juul