By: Laura Dunbar, Grade 2 Belgrade Central School
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 Actors/ Directors.
Belgrade Central School 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. There are many avenues for students to become involved with Missoula, not just acting in the play. This year we had three students assisting backstage in the role of assistant director. Students will often help on the day of the shows, passing out programs and holding the doors.
On Monday, the tour team arrived with a set, lights, costumes, and props, everything it takes to put on a play… except the cast. The team held an audition and this year cast 50 students to perform in the production of Hansel and Gretel. The show was rehearsed throughout the week– yes, you read that correctly, just five days of rehearsals! Many students stayed at school until 7 p.m. each night rehearsing. Two performances were presented to the public on Saturday, March 11th. The show, Hansel and Gretel was a Missoula Children’s Theatre original adaptation with a twist on the classic story that you know and love.
Also, as a part of their residency, enrichment workshops were presented by the Tour Actor/ Directors. Each grade level at BCS participatd 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 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, raffles, and show ticket sales. Sponsors this year included Belgrade Central School PTO, The Don C. Stevens Fund, P & B Remodeling, Hammond Lumber, and Eco Guard.
A lot of energy and hard work goes into that one week in March, but the smiles, singing, and pride during that final song on stage is priceless. Stay tuned to find out what show BCS will be putting on next year! #WeAreRSU18