Participation grows with Mssioula Children’s Theater in New England

Over 48 children from the New England area participated in the Missoula Children’s Theatre, as the young actors performed the production of Rumpelstiltskin on Saturday, March 4, at the Memorial Hall.

A scene from the performance of Rumpelstiltskin in New England. (Herald Photo by Rachel Bock)

By RACHEL BOCK
For The Herald

Over 48 children from the New England area participated in the Missoula Children’s Theatre, as the young actors performed the production of Rumpelstiltskin on Saturday, March 4, at the Memorial Hall.

This year is the fourth year that the New England Tiger Booster Club has hosted the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Despite not having a school drama program at New England Public School, the Booster Club had the idea to bring the Missoula Children’s Theatre to New England to give the students an introduction into the world of theatre arts.

The children’s theatre has been a welcoming experience for the children of New England, as every year has seen increased participation in the week-long theatre program. The Booster Club takes care of the expense of bringing the MCT to town, and because of that there isn’t a cost to the young actors. Any child in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade were welcome to audition for this year’s performance. In every MCT production there are speaking and non-speaking roles, and a part in the play is found for every child who auditions.

The young performers started after school the week of Monday, Feb. 27 with auditions for the various roles in play. Once all the children received their parts, the young actors got to work and had less than five days to practice, and memorize their lines to be ready for the two performances on Saturday, March 4. The children spent countless hours with practices Monday through Friday that went from after school to 7:45 every night; along with dress rehearsals and performances on Saturday. The children were also required to have their lines memorized by that Thursday’s practice which depending on the role leaves some of the actors practicing even longer at home during the week.

Missoula Children’s Tour Director Cody Schmitt finds it amazing how dedicated and how hard the young kids work to learn their parts, and memorize their lines to be ready for a performance in less than a week’s time.

“It is pretty incredible. Kids are so cool like that, because you tell an adult you have to memorize an entire script in a week and they will say they can’t do it. You tell kids that they have to do it and they will say ok and they will come back and have it memorized,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt along with the other tour director Shayla Rogers, have been with Missoula Children’s Theatre since June and have traveled around the East Coast, and the Midwest working with kids in the Rumpelstiltskin Production. Both Schmitt and Rogers enjoy working with the kids and bringing the theatre arts to not only the children but to the communities.

“I just really enjoy that I get to bring theatre to communities that don’t really get to see it, and the kids that don’t have as many opportunities,” Rogers said.

“Just working with kids is so much fun, they always bring so much joy and light into everything,” Schmitt said.

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