Children's Theatre returns in July


Children's Theatre returns in July

By Mike Van Sickle
Union editor

The stage is set for the return of the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) in West Union during summer 2013. West Union’s Parks and Recreation Department will host the traveling troupe from Monday, July 29, through Saturday, Aug. 3. 

Area children (first grade through high school) won’t want to miss out in the opportunity to participate in the unique experience, which includes MCT staff members directing/instructing the youth in performing “The Secret Garden.”

MCT previously visited West Union in 2008 and 2009 and with local cast members helped produce “Rumpelstiltskin” and “The Little Mermaid,” respectively.

“Needless to say, we are every excited to have Missoula Children’s Theatre return to West Union,” said West Union Parks and Recreation Director Kathy Guyer. “The (MCT) helps provide a great learning experience, especially to the younger kids who aren’t offered an opportunity like this on many occasions.”

Auditions for the production will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, July 29, at the Performing Arts Center in West Union. Guyer stressed that the tryouts are open to youth throughout the area. Typically, 50 to 60 young people are cast for an MCT production.

The local parks and rec director explained that the young people cast for “The Secret Garden” will rehearse throughout the week before performing for the public on Friday, Aug. 2, and Saturday, Aug. 3 (times TBA).

In addition, Guyer noted that MCT provides costumes, scenery, and additional items for the performing arts program, while the community provides the children, accompanist, and venue. Also included in the residency are three enrichment workshops presented by the tour directors.

MCT was developed in 1970 by Jim Caron and Don Collins in Missoula, Mont. The duo organized a company of adults who conducted plays for children on a makeshift stage in a local movie theatre.

During the early 1970s the company began to use kids as cast members when it seemed appropriate. In 1972 the directors were astonished when 450 children arrived for a tryout for “Snow White” in Miles City, Mont., which is located approximately 500 miles from Missoula.

The major interest shared by the kids, parents, and teachers during that production is credited for opening the doors to the future for MCT. In addition to its own community theatre, the company now hosts an international tour and performing arts camps.

The MCT mission is the development of life skills in children through participation in the performing arts. MCT’s visit to West Union in August coincides with a similar MCT program in Cedar Rapids.  

Additional information on the MCT program in West Union will be announced as it becomes available. 

Anyone seeking additional information or wishing to host the two MCT directors during their stay may stop by the West Union Parks and Recreation office at City Hall or call Guyer at (563) 422-3685. 


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