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WINGS Performing Arts

WINGS is a nationally recognized performing arts program at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. The program seeks to nurture talent, spirit and leadership in children and youth. WINGS members attend monthly workshops, are eligible to audition for ensemble productions and can attend all WINGS productions free of charge (with the exception of fundraisers and special events). Nebulas, Shooting Stars, Constellations, Milky Ways, Super Novas and Myth Makers are the core youth performing ensembles of WINGS Performing Arts Program.

The Stories

In the months ahead you’ll hear much more about the amazing survival stories we uncovered, but last Thursday night we were honored to help support the heroes at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. Over the last ten years, the organization’s WINGS Performing Arts Program has given many of the children affected by Katrina an artistic outlet to express their emotions and fears. Through dance, music, and theatre, hundreds of local kids have learned the healing power of the arts. For many we saw on stage at the Beau Rivage Theatre, the seeds of a lifelong passion have already been planted thanks to the wonderful teachers and volunteers in this program...

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Credit to: Robin Roberts

Eight years ago, WINGS Performing Arts was developed as a program of the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, the only children’s museum in Mississippi, and Tonya Hays was chosen to direct the program. WINGS offers Gulf Coast students in elementary through high school the opportunity to participate in theater productions that are presented at community sites and area schools. Students work closely with adult staff and volunteers who encourage them to develop teamwork skills and confidence while guiding them through increasingly challenging roles and assignments.

“The WINGS program strives to nurture talent and spirit by mentoring young people”, says Tonya Hays, Director of WINGS Performing Arts, “through learning experiences in the arts that enrich their lives and develop generous and loving hearts”. Through involvement with MS Theatre Association and Southeastern Theatre Conference, the group has earned state and regional recognition. Tonya Hays was selected as the 2008 Sara Spencer Child Drama Award recipient at Southeastern Theatre Conference, the largest regional theatre organization in the US, in recognition of the outstanding role she plays in supporting and mentoring youth in the arts and theatre.

Then in January, Tonya Hays and Ricky Johnson, a member of the WINGS Shooting Starts performing ensemble, traveled to Washington to receive the prestigious 2007 Coming Up Taller Award presented by First Lady Laura Bush. WINGS was nationally recognized as one of 18 outstanding after school hours youth arts and humanities programs...

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Credit to: See South MS

Performance of the play "Canteen." This performance took place on June 18, 2011 at the Stage Door Canteen in the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, LA.

Credit to: Leo Ridge

In 2010, members of WINGS performed at the Kennedy Center. View their performance here.

Credit to: The Kennedy Center

We went to the 3pm show of Shrek The Musical. My kids & I had the best time! I was very impressed with the talent! The whole cast was phenomenal, but the young man who played Pinocchio was outstanding! We look forward to their next show!

Credit to: Rachel Self, Facebook Reviewer

In 2015, WINGS performed Remembrance at the Kennedy Center. Remembrance brings to life the rich legacy of poetry, letters, and music from WWI. The piece features an ensemble of actors, musicians, and dancers that take on the roles of soldiers and sweethearts sharing songs such as “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” “Over There,” and “Always Remembered.” See the performance here.

Credit to: The Kennedy Center

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