CLIMB Theatre program at Morris Bye

CLIMB Theatre is bringing its programming to Morris Bye Elementary School, Coon Rapids, Monday, Jan. 28 at 9:45 a.m.

Professional actors will be in residence performing CLIMB’s original play, “The Bystander.”

“Our programs reached nearly 450,000 students in past years,” said Peg Wetli, founder of CLIMB. “I believe the quality of our programming is the best it’s ever been.”

Given the serious consequences that arise when a “school bullying” situation exists, more schools are seeking outside programming to teach appropriate techniques to students regarding how to deal with bullying and harassment in and outside the classroom, according to Buffy Sedlachek, producer at CLIMB.

CLIMB Theatre regularly presented bullying prevention programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Students learn that kids who bully can be any size, come from any background and girls can bully, too, Sedlachek said.

“We want students to understand ways to not give their power over to kids who bully,” Sedlachek said.

“Through theater, students learn how to effectively take a stand against bullying and they also learn that bystanders can have a big impact on creating bully-free schools.”

The play is about Vandy Van der Velden, a new kid in the neighborhood, and Wheels Wheeler, a girl who bullies, who befriended him.

So has Wheels’ target, Gusty Gustafson. Vandy is caught in a tight spot. Should he stand up to Wheels and run the risk of being targeted himself or should he keep quiet?

CLIMB (Creative Learning Ideas for Mind and Body) Theatre has brought character education programming into schools and other educational settings for over 35 years.

Its mission is to create and perform plays, classes and other works that inspire and propel young people toward actions that benefit themselves, each other and the community.

CLIMB’s programming is available in a variety of formats, including plays, interactive classroom activities and professional development workshops for students and administrators.

For more information about CLIMB, visit

CLIMB is funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the 2008 vote of the people, a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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