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'Zombies' Takes Over the Bellevue Youth Theatre For Halloween

Abby Carter, the 15-year-old playwright of "Zombies," Bellevue Youth Theatre's Halloween production, has created a fun and quirky show involving the walking dead and Girl Scout Cookies.

Something monstrous and deceased is shambling through Bellevue this
Halloween season and this time, it’s not vampires.

Starting on Oct. 26, the Bellevue Youth Theatre will put on on a play called “Zombies,” a ghoulish look into a sleepy Southern town that suddenly becomes plagued by the walking dead.

“Generally we’re used to the model of zombies being motivated by eating
human flesh,” says the play's director Norm Delire. “Here, not so much. These zombies find out, in a weird way, that cookies are their driving force. More specifically, Girl Scout cookies.”

The concept of creating cookie–frenzied zombies came primarily from Abby
Carter, president of the Theatre’s Teen Advisory Board. She says she had been
approached with the challenge by artistic director James McClain after the two worked together last year on the Bellevue Youth Theatre's “Frankenstein.”

“It was almost all her ideology and ideas; I was quite impressed,” says McClain. “She and I wrote [“Frankenstein”] together and it was so good that we decided we’re going to give even more to her. And so we went with the zombie theme and she just had some great ideas.”

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“Before ‘Frankenstein,’ I hadn’t written for the theater at all,” Abby said. “I
had never written a script before, either, it was just essays in English class and stuff. I really enjoy writing in general, so when we started discussing ‘Frankenstein,’ James said, ‘Why don’t you just write it with me?’ so that’s basically how I got involved.”

Abby, a junior at Interlake High School, is one of many young people who have benefited from the Bellevue Youth Theatre, which aims to draw children from every background into their tradition of making magical theater productions.

Three years ago, the theater also began the Youth Quality Program, which empowers children interested in theater to take on bigger responsibilities, like becoming a playwright.

“Let them do our job and get them understanding what we do so that they’re more prepared to actually pursue this,” says McClain. “The results have been remarkably wonderful. Who better to tell a story than young people who have these fresh ideas. They bring a fresh perspective.”

“Zombies” will run at 7 p.m. Oct. 26 and 27 and Nov. 2 and 3, and 2 p.m. Oct. 28, Nov. 3 and 4 at Bellevue Youth Theatre, 16661 Northup Way, Bellevue, WA. Tickets are $12 for general admisssion and $5 for Saturday matinee.

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(MEGAN MANNING is a student in the University of Washington Department ofCommunication News Laboratory.)

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