SEARCY, Ark. — The Harding University departments of theatre and music will present the annual Homecoming musical Oct. 18-19 at 8 p.m. in Benson Auditorium. This year’s production is “Matilda,” with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and book by Dennis Kelly. Orchestrations and additional music is by Chris Nightingale.

Based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel, Matilda tells the story of a spunky 5-year-old girl who loves to read and often uses her wild imagination to craft stories in an effort to find refuge from a life where she’s often told she’s too little to make a difference.

“There are few things that bring me more joy than celebrating children and the magic of musical theatre. So when this musical based on Roald Dahl’s classic book became available, I wanted to share it with others,” said director Dottie Frye. “It fits who we are here at Harding. It prizes education, intelligence, loyalty and the power of love. It stands up to bullies, abusers and those who place greed above people. It shows that children are the hope for the future and that fairness really does matter. It celebrates the reality that faith, hope and love can overcome any size obstacle.”

There will be a live, 13-piece orchestra led by Dr. Andrew Cook to perform the score including “Miracle,” “This Little Girl,” and “When I Grow Up.”

“Matilda” is presented through special arrangement with, and all authorized performance materials supplied by Music Theatre International. 

Tickets can be purchased for $18 or $20 at, the alumni and ticket office in the David B. Burks American Heritage Building or at the door. Tickets at the door will be $20. Immediately following the musical, join the cast for a meet and greet in the student center. For more information, contact the alumni and ticket office at 501-279-4276.

In addition to the annual musical, there will be several other Homecoming activities on campus.

Thursday, Oct. 17

  • Lady Bison soccer vs. East Central, 5 p.m., Stevens Soccer Complex
  • Bison soccer vs. Southern Nazarene, 7 p.m., Stevens Soccer Complex

Friday, Oct. 18

  • Bison Booster Club golf tournament, 8.a.m. check-in and 9 a.m. shotgun start, course at River Oaks
  • Homecoming art show, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Stevens Art Galleries
  • Faith and Business Symposium, 9 a.m.-3p.m., Mabee Business Building
  • Harding History House, 1-4 p.m., 205 N. Lott Tucker Drive
  • Black Student Association Choir, 2-3p.m., Benson steps
  • Good News Singers, 4 p.m., McInteer Rotunda
  • Volleyball vs. Northwestern Oklahoma, 6 p.m., Rhodes-Reaves Field House
  • Bison 3K G.L.O.W. Run, 8 p.m., Bison Park in front of the Ganus Activities Center, race information and registration at

Saturday, Oct. 19

  • Belles and Beaux, 10 a.m., under the pecan trees at Bison Park in front of the GAC
  • Bison Soccer vs. Oklahoma Baptist,10 a.m., Steven Soccer Complex
  •  Harding family picnic and giant tailgate celebration with inflatables and petting zoo, 10:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m., Ganus Activities Complex
  • Art and Design open house, 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m., Stevens Art Gallery
  • Dedication of the Huckeba Field House and recognition of the ‘59 and ‘89 Bison Football teams, 11:00 a.m.
  • Pied Pipers children’s theatre troupe, 11:00 a.m., Heritage Auditorium
  • Volleyball vs. Southwestern Oklahoma, 11:00 a.m., Rhodes Reaves Field House
  • Harding History House, 1-4 p.m., 205 N. Lott Tucker Drive
  • Bison football vs. Southwestern Oklahoma, 3 p.m., First Security Stadium