Spring Conference to Focus on How Moms Can Help Daughters Survive — and Thrive — in Middle School

Expert panel offers advice on how mothers can help daughters make the transition


Published:

Photo courtesy of Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Many parents look ahead to the middle school years with anxiety and trepidation. As children transition into tweens and then teens, parents watch their children exhibit mood swings, impulsivity and physical changes. For mothers and daughters, in particular, these years can consist of turbulent relationships if not handled in a positive and nurturing way. 

A spring mother-daughter conference titled "Right in the Middle" has been coordinated by "Middle School Makeover" author Michelle Icard that will take place Sunday, April 22, 2018, 1-4 p.m., in the Cannon Room of the Capital Club Building in Raleigh, which is located at 16 W. Martin Street in Raleigh. During this conference, mothers and their middle-school age daughters will hear and/or participate in the following presentations: 

  1. "The Middle School Identity" – presented by Michelle Icard
  2. ​"Media Matters" – presented by Stephanie Zerwas
  3. "Friends and Frenemies" breakout session for girls in attendance
  4. Expert panel Q&A with Michelle Icard and Lorelei Lindow
  5. Social Media Tips

Click here to register for the conference. 

As a prelude to this conference, host and panelist Icard offers answers to some of the questions many moms of current or soon-to-be middle school-aged daughters may have.


Q: According to many researchers, the most “stressful,” “loneliest” and “emptiest” time in a mom’s life is when her child goes to middle school. This is bleak news, but you literally wrote the book on how to makeover those awkward middle school years. What good news can you give us?

It’s true: Moms have it hardest when their kids go to middle school. (And we thought sleepless nights with infants were tough!) But I think middle school is an exciting, if sometimes awkward, time; and I think it’s important to reframe our expectations around middle school so we can all be happier. One thing I find fascinating is the changes kids undergo during early adolescence mirror the changes moms go through in middle age (bodies taking new shape, brain functions reorganizing, and even changes to our identity), so even if it’s confusing it’s also a time of huge opportunity.


Q: What big takeaway will moms learn at your conference? 

There are a few things I want every parent at my conference to walk away with. One is a common language and a plan with their daughters around how to handle it when a crisis comes up. Another is for mom and daughter to better understand where the other is coming from. So many misunderstandings could be avoided with this! And finally, every mom will leave knowing how to have better conversations with her daughter through these tricky years. There are things every mom does inadvertently that cause her daughter to shut down, and a few tweaks every mom can make that will help her daughter stay open. Learning this is a game changer.


Q: And what about the middle schoolers themselves? Is there usually one or two “a-ha” moments that most girls have? 

I’ve been hosting this conference multiple times a year, in multiple cities for five years, and the same thing happens at every conference. The girls come in with defensive body language, and I know they’re thinking, “I don’t know why my mom is making me do this.” But by the end of the three hours together, girls are crawling into their moms laps, resting heads on shoulders and playing with their mom’s hair. It’s such a fun transformation to watch play out. I think for them, the "a-ha" moments come when their moms are more humanized through some middle school memory moments as well as a fun quiz they team up for (I don’t want to ruin the surprise!).


Q: What one piece of advice do you think middle school daughters want moms to know? 

I think for every girl it’s different, and the beauty of the conference is that it opens the lines of communication for girls to share with their mom. At one point, we have a breakout and the girls go with high school interns to talk about what they wish their moms would and would not do when the daughter is facing a friendship issue. The moms stay with me for a private Q&A. When we reconvene, the interns share the feedback from the girls and the moms are always surprised and educated! Sometimes, just asking your daughter, how do you want me to handle this can be eye-opening.


Q: This will be your third year doing the conference in Raleigh. Will there be any special guests this year? 

This year, I’ll be teaming up again with Stephanie Zerwas, an associate professor and body acceptance expert from the University of North Carolina. She does a segment on talking through the ups and downs of body image, including the pitfalls of comparing ourselves to others, especially online. I’ll also have local psychologist Lorelei Lindow share the panel with me when answering private questions from moms. This happens when the girls are in their breakout and questions might range from, “How can I help my quiet daughter make more friends” to “How can I help my friend-driven daughter realize she is the company she keeps” to “How do I make my daughter wear deodorant?”

But the other stars of the show are our high school interns. I bring in about eight incredibly talented high school girls to help run the event. In addition to being great hosts, they share tips throughout the event about their middle school experiences and what they wish they’d known back then. For the girls in the audience this adds a lot of interest and credibility to our messages.


Michelle Icard is hosting and serving as a panelist at the "Right in the Middle" conference in Raleigh.


Learn more about the presenters and the conference here

Photos provided by Right in the Middle conference.

 

 
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Calendar

February 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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Join park staff in collecting data for the 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We will look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, and keep track of how many individuals of each species...

Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville , NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Enjoy a free slideshow of the birds of Yates Mill Pond. Over 150 photographs of birds are featured in the show, along with a few mammals. This slideshow, which has accompanying...

Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $18

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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The Wake County New Vehicle Dealers Association brings the world of cars and trucks to Raleigh. See hybrids, electric cars, SUVs, compacts, luxury vehicles and more. At the expo, the Carolina...

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Dorton Arena
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

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Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Studio School of Durham
1201 W. Woodcroft Pkwy.
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: Studio School of Durham
Contact Name: Danielle Clark
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Open Arts
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Morrisville, NC  27560
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Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd
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Cost: Free

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Morrisville Outlet Mall
1001 Airport Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
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Cost: $32 and up

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Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


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Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Carolina Ballet presents Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, dueling families, intrigue, deception and a tragic twist of fate. Dramatic sword fights, stunning costumes and...

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


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Carolina Ballet presents Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers, dueling families, intrigue, deception and a tragic twist of fate. Dramatic sword fights, stunning costumes and...

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601


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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Join park staff in collecting data for the 21st annual Great Backyard Bird Count. We will look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, and keep track of how many individuals of each species...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

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4709 Ten Ten Rd.
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Cost: Free

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Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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1001 Airport Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
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Crowder District Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New HIll, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919.387.4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
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Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
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Our PlayHouse Preschool
3501 Highway 54 W.
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Telephone: (919) 967-2700
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Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
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Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Cary Senior Center Ballroom
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: $12/adult, $6/ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
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See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
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Cost: $30

Where:
Baby + Company
226 Ashville Ave
Cary, NC  27518
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Telephone: 773-495-8117
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Read "Secret Pizza Party" by Adam Rubin and make personalized pizzas. Register online. Choose course #109612.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
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Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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Cost: Free

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Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Hwy.
Durham, NC  27712
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Telephone: 919-620-0120
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See L.M. Montgomery’s beloved novel "Anne of Green Gables" come to life in this stage adaptation by Peter DeLaurier. Enjoy the misadventures of Anne Shirley, a...

Cost: $12/adult, $6/ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
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See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
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Cost: $45-$175

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.996.8700
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Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
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Cost: $50-$80

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $35-$89

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
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Cost: $55/child

Where:
SMILE Camp
6301 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: SMILE Camp
Telephone: 919-538-5278
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N.C. Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
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Cost: $5 for 10 swings

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1709 High School Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Telephone: 856-952-3054
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Cost: Free

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North Carolina State Capitol
1 E. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

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City of Raleigh Museum
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Cost: Free

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Cameron Village Library
1930 Clark Ave.
Raleigh, NC
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Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC  27707
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Cost: $10/person

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The Scrap Exchange
2050 Chapel Hill Rd.
Durham, NC  27703
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Sponsor: The Scrap Exchange
Telephone: 919-213-1278
Contact Name: Anna Graves
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Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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More information

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Cost: $12/adult, $6/ages 18 and younger

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second St.
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: Clayton Youth Theater
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

More information

Applause! Cary Youth Theatre presents the tale of Scraps, who intends to go her own way until she happens onto an adventure that broadens her understanding of herself and the world around....

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

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See William Shakespeare's classical masterpiece brought to life on stage by director Leo Egger, who lends his own unique vision to production. Tickets are available at the door...

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Durham School Of The Arts Blackbox Theater
400 N. Duke St.
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2 E South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.996.8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
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The Town of Cary’s 22nd annual celebration of African-American history and heritage features live entertainment and informative discussion. See the website for hours and fees. 

Where:
The Cary Theater
122 E. Chatham St.
Cary, NC  27511
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2017-18 Education Guide offers 660 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our debut Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2017 Readers' Favorites are.