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Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre presents “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”


DES MOINES- This February, Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre partners with The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines to explore one of the darkest chapters in history with the powerful and inspiring production of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly.”

Based on a collection of paintings and poems, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” tells the inspiring story of Raja Englanderova, a young girl who survives the Holocaust, thanks to her teacher, Irena Synkova. When Raja arrives at Terezin, she cannot speak or write. With the help of Irena, her peers and the power of the arts, she gains the courage to survive — and tell the story of the 15,000 Jewish children who died at Terezin. This moving production is her story and it’s theirs.

“The Jewish Federation is so pleased to enable this production,” said Sharon Goldford, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. “The play preserves the emotions and insights of young people trapped by the Holocaust — their lives tethered through art and imagination. In the end, they live through us.” 

DMYAT’s production features a cast of 26, ranging in age from elementary school to retirement, coming from Ankeny, Ames, Ballard, Des Moines, Grimes, Indianola, Prairie City, Waukee and West Des Moines. The cast includes Sage Johnson (“School of Rock”) as Young Raja, Susanna Douthit* as Adult Raja, Lisa Wiggins (“Little Women”) as Irena Synkova with Jack Andersen, Daphne Bailey, Alanna Buck*, Caitlin Como, Jenna Darsee*, Madelline R. DeMeyer*, Makenna Dempsey, Noah Hackbart, Ryan Henzi, Emerson Hilton-Steinmann, Shari Hrdina*, Ira Lacher*, Holly Lowell*, Michael Meggison*, Tess Meggison, Greta Paulsen*, June Perry Jr.*, Maureen Pletcher*, Caroline Ramsey, Morgan Reetz*, Ollie Smith*, Blake Van Der Kamp, and Jenna Wieskamp. Asterisks denote DMYAT debuts.

The production team includes David A. VanCleave (Director/Scenic Designer), Susanna Douthit (Costume Designer), Mark Toebben (Sound Designer/Composer), Lindsey Sample (Props Design/Scenic Artist), Alice Robertson (Stage Manager), Asher Suski (Assistant Director), Jolie Seitz (Assistant Sound Designer/Composer), Stephanie Wilber (Assistant Costume Designer), Lauren McCool (Dramaturg), April Visnapuu (Producer) and Darren Grote (Producer).

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​Tickets are $19.50-24.50 and are available through Des Moines Performing Arts ticket office, website (www.desmoinesperformingarts.org), or by phone (515.246.2300). Performances take place at the Stoner Theater, 221 Walnut Street, Des Moines.


7:30 p.m., Friday, February 9 

2 p.m., Saturday, February 10
7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 10

2 p.m., Sunday, February 11

7:30 p.m., Thursday, February 15

7:30 p.m., Friday, February 16

2 p.m., Saturday, February 17

7:30 p.m., Saturday, February 17

2 p.m., Sunday, February 18



Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre is a nonprofit organization committed to introducing students to the transformative power of live theatre, training them in all areas of theatre, and nurturing them to create thought-provoking and challenging works of art to promote positive social change. DMYAT’s 2017-2018 season includes “Hairspray Jr.,” “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” and “Bring It On.” During its 2016-2017 season, DMYAT provided hands-on experience and training in singing, acting, dancing, writing, design, directing, and stage management to 151 students from over 70 different schools across the Des Moines metro, and as far away as Woodward Granger, Perry, Pleasantville, Carlisle, Bondurant-Farrar and Norwalk. DMYAT continues to expand its programming by adding educational workshops, classes, concerts, student directed productions and more. 

At The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, our mission is to enrich Jewish living­ through connection, education, and compassion. We coordinate and support the efforts of a diverse number of organizations and synagogues as well as offer a wide range of programs and services that address the needs of the Jewish community, both at home and abroad.

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