PRYAF to bring Wonderland to life

PASO ROBLES — On Thursday, April 13 at 7 p.m. the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation will celebrate the opening night of its spring production, “Alice in Wonderland.”

Taking place in the Berg Auditorium, located in the heart of downtown at 3201 Spring St., the production, which features the talents of roughly 60 local youth, will take the stage three different times Thursday through Sunday evening.

Directed by local actress Claire Sundaro, the production is based off of the timeless classic by Lewis Carroll. While there are today countless different versions of Carroll’s original work, they all have one thing in common about the world in which they take place.

The main character, Alice, always begins her journey by following a fantastical sight of a white rabbit, nervously running behind schedule. As she curiously follows the rabbit, she falls down a hole to a brand new world — one filled with amazing sights, sounds and fantastic characters.

The PRYAF is using various multimedia platforms to create the absolutely fantastical world and truly bring it life.

“Rather than using props and sets, this production will incorporate a kind of trickery and projection,” PRYAF Executive Director Mindy Dierks said. “Our lighting technician, Ryan Flores, is going to make all the magic happen.”

The PRYAF, which aims to ultimately expose students to new ways of seeing and thinking, while simultaneously showcasing their often hidden talents, is preparing them as best as possible for these upcoming performances, Dierks said. In fact, students have been rehearsing nearly every single night for the past month.

“While there are 32 students actually cast in the play, the remainder are helping out wherever they can,” Dierks said. “The production is especially unique because as an ensemble, all of the students have lead roles — even if they aren’t necessarily speaking that much. For example, Gabe Rojas, a 16 year old volunteer from Arroyo Grande, will be playing live music on a piano throughout all of the performances.”

While one of the biggest challenges — and payoffs — for PRYAF with this production is bringing it to life, it is just as big a payoff for students to learn the skill of “group effort” and to understand that as individuals, they all play a huge role in influencing which way the play will go, Dierks said.

Tickets, which cost $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors, can be bought online at

For more information about the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation call (805)238-5825 or visit 

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