BHSU alum and former faculty member collaborate on children's book about Matthews Opera House

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, January 11, 2016/Categories: 2016

A new children's book written by a Black Hills State University alum and a former professor highlights the history of The Matthews Opera House. Photo credit: The Matthews Opera House

A new generation will learn the history of The Matthews Opera House thanks to a children's book written by an alum and a former faculty member of Black Hills State University.

The book, "Shakespeare and the Crown Jewel: A Story of The Matthews Opera House," was written by Dr. Joanna Jones, former BHSU professor, and Laurie Williams Hayes, a BHSU alum and retired educator. The Matthews' executive director, Sian Young, asked Jones to write the children's book and Jones then commissioned Williams Hayes, her previous student and colleague, to work with her on the project.

The book includes 32 full-color pages following the journey of three children auditioning for a play at The Matthews. While preparing for their theatre production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the children explore the opera house learning tidbits of history along the way.

Williams Hayes, who also illustrated the book, said she and Jones researched The Matthews using newspaper clippings and archived photos housed at the Leland D. Case Library at BHSU, in addition to talking with local historians.

"This book brings community history to the kids," said Williams Hayes. "It won't become outdated because, like the beautiful building it highlights, the story too will endure."

To purchase "Shakespeare and the Crown Jewel: A Story of The Matthews Opera House," visit the opera house or order online

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