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CARBONDALE — J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" will play during dates in July at The Varsity Center in Carbondale.

Adapted by Patricia Gray and directed by Susan Harrocks, it will be at 7:30 p.m. July 13, 14, 19, 20, 21; and at 2 p.m. July 15 and 22. Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for students and all tickets are only $7 on July 19.   

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” These were the first words Oxford professor and author J.R.R. Tolkien scribbled on a blank examination paper when he was attempting to write a story for his children. Little did he realize that his children’s story about the adventures of a “halfling” would go on to launch a worldwide print and cinematic phenomenon, Tolkien’s tales of Middle-Earth. And it all began with Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit of the peaceful land known as The Shire, who once upon a time went on an unexpected adventure. In our play, Bilbo has to leave the comfort of his home to recover an important treasure, and, in the spirit of the ages-old story of the “quest,” off one goes with him on a fun and wonder-filled journey of intrigue, discovery, making new friends, and more than a little danger.

The box office will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. July 9-14 and at 1 p.m. on July 15. The box office will again be open from 5 to 7 p.m. July 18-21 and at 1 p.m. July 22. You can also call 618-549-5466 to purchase tickets or buy tickets any time by visiting https://stagecompany.org/.

Author of "The Hobbit," John Ronald Reuel (J.R.R) Tolkien, is widely considered to be the father of modern fantasy writing. Born in 1892 in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State (a former British province of South Africa), young Ronald moved with his mother and brother Hilary to England when he was three years old. It is fairly common knowledge that growing up in the beautiful countryside around Birmingham influenced his descriptions of the Shire, the homeland of the hobbits. Also, the pollution he saw increasing in the area due to industrialization had a profound impact on his environmental views, as reflected in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien married Edith Bratt in 1916, just before going off to war, and they had four children.

After serving in World War I with his regiment, the Lancashire Fusiliers, Tolkien went on that have a very distinguished career at Oxford University as a professor of Anglo-Saxon and English. He was also an expert philologist. Indeed, his interest in philology is in part what led to the publication of his works about Middle Earth, in that he used his books as vehicles for the Elvish languages that he invented..

Tolkien’s son Christopher has longed managed Tolkien’s literary estate and has published a number of Professor Tolkien’s previously unpublished works, including his masterful cosmology, The Silmarillion. In 2007, Christopher published one of the longer tales in The Silmarillion as a separate novel entitled The Children of Hurin.

The Hobbit, published in 1937, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction.

The playwright, Patricia Gray, is a published author and an editor of children's books. The director, Susan Harrocks, has been a member of the Stage Company for 10 years. She is currently president-elect, having previously served as vice-president for productions.

At The Varsity Center Play "The Hobbit," production is being sponsored by Cristaudo’s Café, Bakery and Catering. 

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