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Unlocking The Secret Garden

Many people have asked us, where does the name of our theater come from?

It comes the classic book “The Secret Garden,” written in 1911 by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The book was adapted into a play, a Broadway musical and later motion pictures. The story begins in India as a 10 year old girl named Mary Lennox’s parents die suddenly of cholera. Now orphaned, she goes to live at her uncle’s 100 room mansion on England’s Yorkshire Moors. There she withdraws into herself as her uncle travels extensively on business and while at home pays her little attention. He too is grieving, but his grief is for his wife, who died suddenly in her rose garden. The master of the house forbade anyone to enter the walled in garden, locking the gate and burying the key.

As with most English manors, gardens surround the mansion. Upon hearing of the story of her aunt’s passing from Martha, one of the caring servants, she sets out to find the garden. One day a robin bird who befriends her leads Mary to a patch of disturbed earth.  Mary digs and finds the hidden key to the secret garden, which has become overgrown. She asks for gardening tools from Martha, who sends her brother Dickon to show her how to use them to tend to a garden. Mary shows Dickon the secret garden and the two take to the task of bringing the garden back to its former glory.

On night while her uncle was away on business she is startled by a moaning that reverberates through the lonely desolate halls of the manor. Upon hearing the moans on subsequent nights she searches the manor and finds a hidden bedroom.  There her cousin, Colin, lay stricken with a disease that has put him in a wheel chair.  The next day Mary brings Colin to the garden, which is the first time he has been outside in years. The garden and his new-found friends, Mary and Dickon, rejuvenate Colin and he finds he is able to walk on his own. Upon Mary’s uncle’s return he is first angered to see the children in his wife’s garden and then is overjoyed to see his son winning a foot race with his friends. Everyone believed Colin to be crippled.  The garden and the mansion once cloaked in grief and despair had new life breathed into them.  The story is a tale of sorrow, happiness, and ultimately rejuvenation.

Our theater welcomes children into a safe and supportive environment where they explore the wonders of theater, become someone else, escape who they are for a little bit and most of all have fun. Like Mary unlocking the gate to the Secret Garden, children at The Secret Garden Children’s Theater are free to ‘Unlock their inner star’.

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