Classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Takes Stage at River Campus


Photo from a stage production of "To Kill A Mockingbird"

Harper Lee’s famous “To Kill A Mockingbird” is being transferred from print to the stage by the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Theatre and Dance March 29-April 2.


March 16, 2011 – Harper Lee’s famous “To Kill A Mockingbird” will be transferred from print to the stage by the Southeast Missouri State University Department of Theatre and Dance.

The production, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 29-31 and April 1-2 and at 2 p.m. April 2-3 in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre at the River Campus. Dr. Kenn Stilson, professor of theatre and dance, is directing the performance.

Rhonda Weller-Stilson, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, says that due to the large demand for tickets for these shows, two additional performances for the public have been added along with another for area students. At this time, all performances are sold out, but those interested in attending are urged to call the River Campus Box Office at (573) 651-2265 for any cancellations.

Adapted to theatre form by Christopher Sergel, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by the same name written by Harper Lee. The performance of this play will celebrate the novel’s 50th anniversary in print. “To Kill A Mockingbird” is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with serious issues of rape and racial inequality.

The story takes place during the Great Depression in fictional Maycomb, Ala. The narrator, six-year-old Scout Finch, lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Scout struggles with understanding the separations of race and class as Atticus defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. While the story “concerns tragedy and injustice, heartache and loss, it also carries with it a strong sense of courage, compassion, and an awareness of history to be better human beings.”   

This production contains adult language and adult themes.

“Once in a while, life seems to bring together elements that converge into greatness. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a perfect example of such a phenomenon,” Dr. Kenn Stilson said. “Everything in this story — the plot, the setting, the conflict, the characters – flawlessly come together to form a lasting masterpiece.”

This timeless tale “reminds us that the more things change, the more they stay the same,” he said. “How great it would be to have more Atticus Finches as our leaders and more Scouts among our younger generation, to create a society where Boo Radley’s voice is heard?  Perhaps no other story has made a deeper imprint on the American psyche.”

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “To Kill A Mockingbird” is translated into more than 40 languages and considered by many to be the greatest story of the twentieth century, he said.

“If you haven’t read the novel, now is the time,” Dr. Kenn Stilson said. “If you haven’t seen the play, now is also the time. I suggest you buy your tickets early for this limited engagement. It is guaranteed to sell out.”

Rhodes 101 Stops is the sponsor of this year’s Theatre and Dance Series.


Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by calling (573) 651-2265.  Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at, keyword “Mockingbird”, or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.