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Barton Theatre presents The Santaland Diaries to raise funds for program
new slt santaland
Grady Bolding poses for a promotional photo. The actor keeps busy doing productions for Barton as well as the Great Bend Community Theater. - photo by Photo courtesy of BCC

The Barton Theatre Department will present “The Santaland Diaries,” starring Barton Theatre and Kansas State University Theatre alumnus, Great Bend resident Grady Bolding at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Fine Arts Auditorium. Donations will be taken at the door and will go toward new equipment and materials for the theatre program. The play was adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello.

“The ‘Santaland Diaries’ is David Sedaris' hilarious one-man send-up of his brief, misguided career as a Macy's elf. The show skewers our sentimental love of all things Christmas such as the happy children, the spritely elves, the gifts, and the good cheer. Sedaris' character, Crumpet the Elf, shows us the other side of what it's like to work at Santaland, and the result is bawdy and irreverent, but always fun,” according to

Bolding said doing a one-man show allows him to hone his craft and bring this character to life.

“I have always liked the storytelling aspect behind theatre and just enjoy how people express their stories through characters,” he said.

Barton Theatre Director Erin Renard said she had a couple of reasons for choosing this particular show.

“Ever since I met Grady in 2010, I have been on the lookout for a one-man show that only Grady could do,” she said. “When I stumbled on ‘The Santaland Diaries,’ I knew I had found a vehicle for Grady to showcase his unique talent. Additionally, I chose to stage this production to juxtapose the traditional Christmas stories we have all come to expect. Holidays can be a stressful time and I thought we could all use an evening of pure laughter and entertainment.”

The somewhat autobiographical nature of the play also made it appealing to Renard.

“This one-act is a special blend of uniquely dry and sometimes biting commentary based on David Sedaris’ actual experience as a Macy’s Elf,” she said.  “The self-depreciating humor coupled with off-beat observations make this show a real gem.”

Renard said Bolding is perfect for the role.

“This role was chosen for Grady, not the other way around as usually done in theatre casting,” she said. “There is no one else I could see portraying this role. Grady has a natural talent for comedic timing and portrayal.”

For more information, please contact Renard at or (620) 786-1187.

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