The Williams Baptist University theatre program is preparing to take stories written by area elementary students and bring them to life in the 2020 production of the “Story Store.”

The “Story Store” has featured the creativity of talented and gifted elementary students around northeast Arkansas for 21 years. While the Story Store has always been held in Walnut Ridge, the production will be expanding to north central Arkansas this year for an additional performance in Melbourne.

Melinda Williams, assistant professor of communications arts at WBU, said she was “very excited about expanding the program.”

Stories the elementary school students create are submitted to Williams and are performed by WBU students.

“College students were readily available talent,” she said. “It gave my WBU actors another opportunity to perform and gave me a chance to work with and develop some new talent.”

Luke Windham, a senior at WBU, is performing for his second year in the “Story Store.” 

“My experience in the ‘Story Store’ has been great” Windham stated.  “It is always fun and worth the stress of performing.” 

As Windham prepares for his final “Story Store” performance, freshman Jenni Lochridge is excited for her first time in the production. “The idea of the kids watching their stories on stage is really exciting. I can’t wait,” Lochridge said.

“Story Store” is a joint effort between WBU and the Northeast Arkansas Educational Cooperative, with 14 schools and 25 stories represented in this year’s production.

The Walnut Ridge performance will be held on Feb 19 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. at the Walnut Ridge community center. The Melbourne performance will be on Feb 20 at 10:00 a.m. at Melbourne’s Ozarka College.

WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge, Ark.