By Laura Dunbar
The Missoula Children’s Theatre, the nation’s largest touring children’s theatre, has been touring extensively for more than 40 years now from Montana to Japan and will visit nearly 1,200 communities this year with up to 44 teams of Tour Actor/Directors.
BCS welcomes Missoula Children’s Theatre with open arms each year during the month of March. Students who are interested in being involved in the play pre-register for auditions, though there are many other avenues for students to become involved with Missoula. For children who are not comfortable on stage, there is an opportunity to assist backstage in the role of assistant director and students will often help on the day of the shows, passing out programs and holding the doors. The week before MCT’s arrival, several students along with the guidance of our art teacher, Ms. Wrenn, work to create hallway decorations that coordinate with the play.
Next, the tour team arrives with a set, lights, costumes, props and make-up, everything it takes to put on a play…except the cast. The team holds an audition and this year cast 50 students to perform in the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The show was a Missoula Children’s Theatre original adaptation with a twist on the classic story that you know and love and was rehearsed throughout the week– yes, you read that correctly, just five days (or four if there is a snow day, which was the case this year). Many students stayed at school until 7 p.m. each night rehearsing. Two performances were presented to the public on Saturday, March 10th.
Also, as a part of their residency, the tour actor/directors present enrichment workshops. Each grade level at BCS participates in workshops such as Improv, Acting, and Behind the Scenes. Creativity, social skills, goal achievement, communication skills and self-esteem are all characteristics that are attained through the participation in this unique, educational project.
Funding for the Missoula Children’s Theatre is made possible by a group of parents and teachers called the Belgrade Central School Theater Committee. The committee raises money through donations and most recently through tickets sales for a Prize Calendar. Prizes including tickets to Santa’s Village, various gift cards, and gift baskets with many local items were drawn every day for the month of April.
A lot of energy and hard work go into that one week in March, but the smiles, singing, and pride during that final song on stage are priceless. Stay tuned to find out what show BCS will be putting on next year…