Peter Pan, Jr. Debuts at Diana Wortham - TribPapers

Peter Pan, Jr. Debuts at Diana Wortham

Theater students pose outside Diana Wortham Center for Performing Arts. photo submitted.

Asheville – Asheville Junior Theater, AJT, burst onto the Asheville performing arts scene in June 2022 with their first production of Matilda the Musical Jr., following the aspirations of owner/producer/director Kelly Haas, who has a master’s degree in film from USC and extensive experience with a junior theater company in California.

“We are a boutique junior theater company,” says Haas, “who at its core believes that theater is a valuable tool for helping children discover who they are.” “We give kids a focus and a purpose, to show them what they are capable of with hard work and drive.”

With its brightly colored sets and creative costumes, AJT’s first production was not simply “good” for a children’s theater company; it received wide praise as really great theater for any age. Its second production, “Peter Pan Jr.,” coming this weekend to the Diana Wortham Theatre (January 14th and 15th), promises to be the same: an entertaining show that is fun for all ages.

As the parent of a child performing in “Peter Pan Jr.” and as an artist myself, I am eternally grateful to Kelly Haas (owner, producer, director),  Erin Roberts (director of choreography, assistant director), Shalene Hill (director of music), and Maria Huey (stage manager) for creating an environment where my daughter and other children have been able to thrive, finding belonging, community, and an avenue for creative expression. I have seen a new confidence, joy, and spark of creativity develop in my daughter, and I know other parents feel the same. Our children are learning the value of hard work, practice, and persistence. These are valuable skills that will stick with them for a lifetime, and unfortunately, these are skills that are rarely taught in this day and age.

Our children have really struggled through the unprecedented times of the last three years, and AJT presents an opportunity for them (and us) to recapture some of the things we lost.
For more information, visit the AJT’s website at, and for tickets to this weekend’s Peter Pan Jr., visit the show!