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Bucket-filling play created by SLU professor goes online


CANTON — A St. Lawrence University professor hopes to spread the concept of “bucket filling” one theater production at time.

Anne Marie Gardinier Halstead has revised a play she wrote in 2011. The one-act play is based on award-winning children author Carol McCloud’s two books, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” and “Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness.”

She’s also launched a new website that makes her script available for purchase,

“We’ll be able to spread this message of bucket filling on a larger scale,” Ms. Gardinier Halstead said. “It’s basically a modern take on the golden rule. It gives kids a positive message and a vocabulary to express their feelings.”

The bucket-filling concept has been spreading internationally and can now travel by live performances. Ms. Gardinier Halstead’s 45-minute play is targeted toward elementary school children and is also titled, “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”

The character education company Peaceful Schools, Syracuse, will deliver the first tour of the play throughout Central and Northern New York.

Ms. Gardinier Halstead, an associate professor of performance and communication arts, became interested in adapting the book after her oldest son, Trey R., 6, came home from Canton’s Banford Eleentary School talking about bucket fillers and bucket dippers.

Those are the terms used to describe positive and negative behaviors. The bucket-filling concept is used by schools across the country as a way to teach anti-bullying.

In July 2011 the play was performed by Gifford Family Theatre, a professional children’s theatre company based in Syracuse. Later that year, SLU theater students performed the play.

“There was a huge response to both productions. I was getting emails from everywhere. Schools, parents and others seem eager for creative ways to address bullying.”

In the book, the children are nameless, but in the play each character has an identity and a distinct character. The play tells the story of Trey, a fourth grade student who learns about bucket filling from his summer camp counselor and her memorable friends.

There’s a bucket-filling fairy named BFF who speaks in rhyme and serves as the logo on the new website. There’s also Professor Smarty Pants who is always talking about himself.

“The fairy is a magical creature who spreads the message of bucket filling,” Gardinier Halstead said.

Ms. Gardinier Halstead has developed a partnership with Ms. McCloud and the two agreed to link their websites.

“She has embraced the idea of a theatrical adaptation of her book,” Gardinier Halstead said. “She has been very supportive.”

Ms. Gardinier Halstead and her husband, Gregg R. Halstead, have another son, Trevor R., 2, and the family resides in Canton.

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