Originally Published: September 10, 2018 8:38 p.m.
“Hannah’s Heart” is a heart-felt, historic story set in Depression-era Prescott penned by a local author and illustrator who hopes her tale will inspire children to see they can be a force of good in their community.
A Coalition of Compassion and Justice founder and former special projects director Diane Iverson, the author of “Hannah’s Heart,” appeared before the Prescott Unified Governing Board Tuesday night, Sept. 3, to share how she hopes her book just made into a theatrical play will make a difference to children here.
In November, the Ruth Street Theater at Prescott High School will be transformed into the main character’s Prescott at Christmastime, with local playwright Melanie Ewbank transforming Iverson’s words and images and making them into theatrical scenes for audiences between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2.
Iverson plans for this to become a Christmas tradition — with all the proceeds from the tickets priced at $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students to be divided between CCJ’s charities and the PUSD Family Resource Center, which provides low-income families with everything from backpacks and school supplies to referrals to agencies that can assist with groceries, permanent housing and employment.
The mission of this endeavor, too, has generated the interest of some local craft groups, with some local volunteers replicating Hannah’s Hearts into their own heart-shaped ornaments that will be sold at the performances.
A new quilting group, the Kwazy Kwquilters, also designed a raffle quilt inspired by Hannah’s story. The raffle tickets are being sold through CCJ, Jay’s Bird Barn, and the Family Resource Center and through Iverson — $5 for 1, 3 for $10 and 7 for $20 — and the winning ticket will be picked at the final 3 p.m. matinee performance on Dec. 2; the other two performances will be at 7 p.m.
The theater will include a Hannah’s Market where the hearts and raffle tickets will be sold. All the proceeds from those sales will also be donated to the two local charities.
Asked by President John Mackin how the board can help, Iverson said she wants to spread the word so that the theatre has a full auditorium of at least 700 people for each performance. She said the hope is to raise some significant dollars to benefit two very worthy organizations.
“I’ve been speaking at schools since 1997,” said Iverson, 68, of how she strives to inspire children to “see that anything they want to do they can do.”
She has written more than 20 books, some of them now featured in children’s literary museums, and several are stories of children who rise above challenging circumstances to find a purpose and happiness.
In “Hannah’s Heart,” Iverson creates a character with a will that stretches beyond her years — the casting for the show is not yet complete and she noted that Ewbank is still seeking a 10-year-old girl to play Hannah.
To Iverson, the community response to the book and the play is symbolic of a message she believes is at the heart of this story, and most of them she has written: “We all bring our own talents, and together it is enough.”
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