Conway Christian celebrates 10th production

by Sonja J. Keith

Conway Christian School will present “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” this week, continuing a school tradition that started 10 years ago.

The play will be presented in the school gym at 2 and 7 p.m. Thursday, March 16. The public is invited. Tickets are $5 each and available at the door. Donations will be accepted for the infant and toddler home at Soaring Wings Ranch.

Each school year, students nominate and vote on a play to present in the spring. Many of the high school students participate, bringing together different segments of the student body who might otherwise not know each other. The play also represents an opportunity for students to learn time management skills, which alumni have identified as another benefit of participating.

“It’s really a full school drama production,” said CCS teacher Laura Shelton, who directs the play.

“I really love getting to come together with all different people from ninth through 12th grade and spending time with people who I don’t normally get to,” said senior Elizabeth Steely, who plays Animal 1 and also serves as the costume and makeup manager.

Several in the cast noted that the movie “Narnia” is one of their favorites from childhood and they are excited to present the play.

Shelton has encouraged them not to watch the movie but instead to develop their character in their own way. The CCS production will also feature original music and choreography.

“We’re trying not to copy the movie,” said senior Cora Lentz, who plays Lucy and is in her fourth play at CCS. “We really hope that this performance glorifies God and is a blessing to the audience.”

“We really wanted to do something where we could focus on the Christian message,” said Shelton, adding that the production is the first full-fledged Christian play to be presented by CCS. “‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ is really a story of salvation.”

Cast members were “Loving LIFE”: (from left) David Belvardi (Peter), Zach Ward (Edmund), Madeline Steely (Susan) and Cora Lentz (Lucy).

Last year, the school presented “The Wizard of Oz.” Shelton points out while there are some similarities between the two stories, there are distinct differences. “We’re not doing the Christian version of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ this year.”

This is the fourth CCS play for senior Abby Shourd, who has been cast as the White Witch. “I have never been able to play an evil character. I am excited to develop this character and work with the other cast members,” she said. “Conway Christian Drama Club is very special. Almost all of the high school is involved in the play, making our drama club very unique.”

Senior Zach Ward, who portrayed the Tin Man last year, has been cast this year as Edmund. “I really enjoyed the experience last year, and love the atmosphere of drama club and being able to go through all of this with all my friends and classmates,” he said. “It is a great experience to go through and you get to learn so many things about the school, your peers and even yourself.”

Some of those involved in this year’s production have seen many of the plays presented the last 10 years. Typically each year, graduates who were involved in those productions return to Conway Christian just for the play. “It’s nice that we have a lot of alumni who come back,” Shelton said. “They may not come back for anything all school year but they come to the play.”

Senior Savannah Stacks, who is the stage manager, is amazed by how much the cast accomplishes in just two months of production.

“Many students do plenty of other things besides drama at Conway Christian,” she said. “Watching everyone use their acting abilities to glorify God is my favorite part of putting together a play. This 10th production, I would dare say, will be the best by far.”

The cast and crew of the Conway Christian School production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” were “Loving LIFE.” The play will be presented on Thursday at the school. The public is invited.

Crew members:

Stage manager and tech director: Meagan Pennington

Assistant stage manager/house manager: Savannah Stacks

Set and prop manager: Dawn Lippelgoes

Costume and make-up manager: Elizabeth Steely


Aslan: Dillon Davis
White Witch: Abby Shourd
Lucy: Cora Lentz
Edmund: Zach Ward
Susan: Madeline Steely
Peter: David Belvardi
Mr. Beaver: Robert Poppe
Mrs. Beaver: Abby Moix
Unicorn: Seth Smith
Centaur: Bennett Pascoe
Tumnus: Will Jackson
Fenris Ulf: Rob Hogue
Dwarf: Aaron Martin
Father Christmas: Connor Wood
Elf: Lane McSpadden
Animals: Elizabeth Steely, Dawn Lippelgoes, Allyson Oliver, Gracie Hill, Olivia Ford and Rachel Ledbetter
White Stag: Trey Starkey
1st Army Member: Rhaegan Linn
2nd Army Member: Carly Lawrence
1st Newcomer: Macey Vaught
2nd Newcomer: Alec Ohlde
Tap Master: William Ivy
Aslan’s followers: Cameron Horton, Nathan Burrow, Dawson James, Timothy Loftness, Jay Gattis, Seth Norton, John Christian Baker, Katie Gambrill and Katie Dather
Witch’s army: McKenna Vaught, Laila Sulieman, Madelyn Black, Julia Leher, Adrianna Ferrand, Lauren Kinley, Stormy Stacks, Jessica Anderson, Caroline Henley, Maddie Pelley and Claire Coffey
Wood nymphs: Bailey Cooper, Grace Rapert, Kendra Lea, Ashley Page, Rachel Poppe, Maggie Clanton and Mattie-Grace Burford