IDAHO FALLS — Local playwright, Heather Fahnestock of Idaho Falls, writes and directs a group of home-schooled youth from Shelley to Rigby in upcoming comedy, “Better Days.”

Beginning in the fall of 2011, Heather Fahnestock began looking for plays that were inexpensive to produce for her advanced acting (ACTivate) home-school students to perform. She was unable to find the quality she wanted and instead began writing her own. She adapted “The Light Princess” and “Canterville Ghost” into plays that her students performed. She has also edited three Shakespeare plays and written a short, modern, slapstick version of “Two Gentleman of Verona.”

This year Heather’s confidence grew enough to strike out on her own and write something entirely of her own creation.

Heather says, “My students inspire me. They inspire certain characters, they inspire me to write plays that they would like to perform, they even inspire me by their number (I know how many characters I need and of which gender)!”

When asked why Heather does what she does she responded, “I have a passion for working with home schooled youth. I have seen how drama can impact a student’s life, giving them confidence and provide opportunities for leadership and creativity. I have watched so many students grow from shy, awkward children into confident, well-spoken young people. We build community in our class, and it nurtures these kids in a way that’s awesome to behold!”

ACTivate youth will perform “Better Days” on Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 10, at 7 p.m., and April 11 at 2 and 7 p.m. at Christ Community Church, located at 5742 S. Fifth W. (Park Road) in Idaho Falls. There is no cost to attend performances held at Christ Community Church. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Additional performances will be held at the Virginia Theater, 186 S. State St., in Shelley on Friday, April 25 at 7:30 and Saturday, April 26 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Cost is $6 per person or a group rate of $5 per person if there are six or more.

This play is directed by Heather Fahnestock of Idaho Falls, Carrie Francia of Rigby, and Shelby Smith of Rigby. They have enjoyed directing plays together for the last four years.

ACTivate is part of iFamily Leadership Academy, a local group of more than 50 home school families that meet together weekly for shared educational opportunities. The organization’s website is