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Zippy's Club Opens at Middlesborough Little Theatre Featuring 34 Area Children Helps Kids Overcome Bullying and Celebrate Differences
Contact: Candida Sullivan, 423-259-2134, 606-499-6006, candidasullivan@yahoo.com

MIDDLESBORO, Ky., April 3, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- More than 200 people filled the Middlesboro Central Auditorium last night for the opening of Zippy's Club, the first of five shows based on the bestselling children's book series, Zippy, by local Tennessee author Candida Sullivan.

Performed by the Middlesborough Little Theatre, and adapted for the stage by director Amy Oden Simpson, Zippy's Club features 34 area children and invites kids to be part of an anti-bulling team, teaching them to overcome bullying with kindness and learn to celebrate one another's differences. The play also features the Zippy's Club theme song, "The Best That You Can Be," written and performed live by Tony Memmel, an award-winning songwriter, musician, and amputee.

"At the heart of Zippy's Club is a story that encourages children, and all of us, to be the type of people who lift others up, instead of knocking them down," says Sullivan. "While we can't control how others treat us, we can decide how we act toward them."

Sullivan, a survivor of Amniotic Band Syndrome, travels regularly to schools, literary festivals and other events across the country, using her scars and speaking from her own experiences with bullying to help children overcome their hardships and learn to celebrate their differences.

The opening night of the play coincided with the nationwide launch of the book, Zippy's Club, (ShadeTree Publishing, April 2014), the third book in the Zippy series, which focuses on the life of Zippy, a zebra without stripes. The book includes a section from a nationally certified counselor to help initiate conversations with kids about bullying as well as a letter from Sullivan sharing her personal story. It's been endorsed by numerous people including Debbie Knuckles, director of the Children's Reading Foundation of Appalachia-Kentucky, blogger and author Meg Zucker (donthideitflaunit.com), licensed psychological associate and school based therapist, Kaye Thomas, and Dr. Rick Metrick, director of Total Life Counseling, Inc. Sullivan has also created a Zippy's Club kit, which includes a printed copy of the play in book format and two resource CDs, for teachers to use in the classroom.

Additional performances of Zippy's Club are scheduled for Thursday, April 3, Friday, April 4, and Saturday, April 5, all at 7:30 p.m.; and a matinee on Sunday, April 6 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. The theatre will also hold a free, encore performance for all area schools on April 11, with more than 800 students currently scheduled to attend. More information can be obtained by calling 606-499-4040.