REDLANDS - About 11 years ago, Daniela Whipple and her mother walked out of Clock Auditorium following a theatre production at Redlands High School.

Daniela's mother, Anabel, remembers it well.

"She was a student at McKinley Elementary and she was just in the first grade," Anabel said. "But she told me right there that acting was what she wanted to do and she was going to do it here (at RHS)."

On Saturday, during the school's Children's Theatre Festival, Daniela, now a senior at RHS, was participating in her 12th RHS theatre production - bit roles in two plays and assistant director of a third.

"It's been everything I wanted and more," Daniela said. "It is something you have to put a lot into but it is so rewarding because of what you get out of it. It's been rewarding in every possible way."

Nearly 100 students, alumni, parents and volunteers helped stage the Children's Theatre Festival, now about 15 years old. The festival featured the plays "The Princess and the Pea," "The Sword in the Stone" and "Rapunzel." Visitors strolled through the campus, which featured an outdoor carnival with booths with varying activities for kids.

Earlier in the week, the festival's plays were performed for students from Franklin, Lugonia, Bryn Mawr, Crafton, Smiley and McKinley elementary schools. The students attended at no charge.

"It's a way to reach out to the community," said Festival Coordinator Corrine Soto-Gonzales. "We get the kids out here and it is like introducing them to theatre."

"The Princess and the Pea" was the opening performance on Saturday. It featured freshman Dela Brown, sporting a sparkly red gown, in the role of the queen.

"I like this role," the 14-year old said. "I think it is because it's a crazy person like me."

One of the largest groups attending the festival was the Redlands Girl Scout Troop No. 8. Troop leader Lori Knutz of Redlands brought 14 girls with her.

It was the seventh festival for Knutz.

"Three of our girls had never seen a play, so they got to their first with us and that is fun," Knutz said. "I like to come here. It is always a fun experience."

Knutz added, "The first festival we saw was only about 15 minutes. This was about 40 minutes. And I think this was probably the best festival we've been to."


Reach Ed via email, call him at 909-793-3221, or find him on Twitter @TheFactsEd.