The characters of Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant — BFG — came to life on the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center stage Friday afternoon.

The Dallas Children’s Theater performance was presented by the Hays Arts Council.

About 800 second- and third-graders from Hays, Ellis, Victoria, Plainville and Russell schools cheered, laughed and applauded the fast moving performance.

The HAC usually presents two family productions each year, and students in two grades are invited to attend an afternoon performance.

“At least once every year, every kindergarten- through fifth-grade student in Hays, Ellis Victoria, Plainville and Russell, will be in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center for a professional performance experience,” HAC director Brenda Meder said.

Kindergarten and first-graders usually attend a fall performance by the Wichita Children’s Theater, second- and third-grade students attend the spring family production and fourth- and fifth-grade students an Encore production.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students got a bonus performance this year also attending a Schoolhouse Rock Live in the fall.

Many of the theater companies also have classroom study guides that provide information about the theater, etiquette, audience role and vocabulary.

“Some teachers use them, some don’t,” Meder said.

Brenda Dreiling’s second-grade class comes to the performance every year.

“The kids enjoy it. Afterwards we talk about it, the actors, what goes into making the play,” Dreiling said.

Dreiling’s students also read books by Dahl.

Courtney Brady came with her son Jake’s third-grade class at Holy Family Elementary School.

“It’s good for them to get out of the school, and experience different things that they may not during the school day,” Brady said.

“It’s really cool that they would have had that exposure to just embrace the performing arts,” Meder said. “It’s really about them having that cultural exposure.”

There was also a Saturday afternoon performance of BFG for the public with reduced admission prices.

“This is a big one,” Meder said of the theater group. “There’s no way we could do this if it wasn’t for the underwriting from the (Bob and Patricia) Schmidt Foundation, and that grant we got from the Heartland Community Foundation, and a smaller grant from Midwest Energy to help pay for the facility expenses.”