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Daytime Performances September 19th-26th
Contact Performing Arts Coordinator Elena Stephenson to book your Field Trip today!

Silva Semerciyan's THE LIGHT BURNS BLUE is a play inspired by the true story of the Cottingley Fairies: the case of two young cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, who in 1917, having purportedly taken photographs of real fairies near their home in Cottingley, Rorkshire, were invited by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes) to speak at a conference in London about their supernatural encounters.

The play was commissioned by Tonic Theatre in partnership with Nick Hern Books as part of Platform, an initiative comprising a series of big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by school, college and your-theatre groups, with the aim of addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre.

*Want to bring your school to this amazing theatre field trip experience? Contact Performing Arts Coordinator Elena Stephenson 913-826-3059

Want to learn more about Stageplay-Youth Theatre Experience? Click HERE!

This production is made possible
by the generous support of


StagePlay is an immersive, performing arts field trip for children grades K-8 that adopts a holistic learning approach designed to satisfy Kansas & Missouri State educational standards. StagePlay is singular in its formation, holistic in its practice, and unique to Johnson County. It is the ONLY performing arts, education-based field trip providing three days of classroom curriculum, a theatrical performance, and engagement activities (including S.T.E.A.M.) facilitated through a field-trip model for area school districts.

Content is geared towards grades 5th-9th grade. 


Production Team

Director: Patrick Pribyl

Artistic Director: Elena Stephenson

Stage Manager: TJ Burton


Wendy Bucheit
Emma Carte
Betsy Eliza
Emmy Panzica
Sabrina Stewart
Spencer Thompson
Ian Von Fange



Seventeen-year-old Elsie Wright has never done well at school and though her drawings are extraordinary, a career as an artist isn’t something a girl from a run-of-the-mill village like Cottingley could normally aspire to. Besides, it’s 1917, there’s a war on and the constant news of deaths from the front are affecting every family in her village – including her own – meaning Elsie’s artistic endeavours aren’t top of anyone’s list of priorities to encourage.

When Elsie borrows her father’s camera and fakes photographs of her and her younger cousin Frances talking with fairies at the bottom of the Wright’s garden, the girls don’t expect the public fervour their work will unleash. While Elsie’s father dismisses the pictures as nonsense, her mother passes them on to a local theosophist Madame Blavatsky, who – enjoying an increased profile amid the fascination in spiritualism ignited by the war – announces them as concrete proof that fairies exist. Suddenly, Elsie and Frances are catapulted to the heights of fame, their photographs published around the world, even capturing the attention of celebrated author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

A young newspaper reporter called Winifred Douglas is tasked by her editor to expose the now-famous Elsie as a fraud. Desperate to prove herself, Winifred infiltrates Elsie’s group of friends in Cottingley in an effort to uncover how the photographs were faked. But it is when she begins to investigate why Elsie steadfastly maintains the photographs’ veracity that Winifred begins to think there is something more to the girl’s actions than simple attention-grabbing. The play jumps back and forward in time between a charged encounter between Winifred and Elsie at a high-profile London event staged by Conan Doyle to promote Elsie’s photographs, and scenes earlier in  the year leading up to Elsie’s taking of the photographs, and the burgeoning of her ensuing fame.