Magic of Theatre returns to St. Clair Memorial Hall



By Marilyn Delk

Research confirms that children benefit from involvement with theatre, and that this exposure results in improvements in communication skills, critical thinking ability, and sensitivity to and understanding of others, while positive feelings of self-worth are being developed and enhanced, plus many other positive outcomes. But somehow, those obvious assets do not begin to describe the magic that theatre brings to lives.

When Darke County Center for the Arts once again presents its annual Missoula Children’s Theatre residency at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville Aug.1 through 6, magic will once again be afoot in our community, touching lives in myriad ways that affect the future as well as the present. Through experience with theatre, dreams based on discovery of who you really are and who you can be are inspired. forming an expansive foundation for the future. But all the while, everyone involved will simply be having a great time!

Missoula Children’s Theatre, the nation’s largest touring children’s theatre, has been touring extensively for more than 40 years not only throughout the United States but also globally, their teams of Tour Directors/Actors visiting 1200 communities around the world including, for two decades, Darke County. The routine in each tour stop is not complicated, but efficiently and amazingly accomplishes MCT’s goals in one short week. A little red truck will pull up at the performance space with everything needed—set, costumes, scripts, musical score—for a fully produced musical; then the MCT team will host auditions to choose a cast of up to 60 first through twelfth grade students, intensively rehearse the cast of youngsters throughout that week, and ultimately present a delightful show to the community starring those thrilled and excited young actors.

This year’s local production will be The Emperor’s New Clothes, based on the old fairy tale but with many sweet, charming, and funny diversions from the original. In addition to the Emperor, roles to be cast include characters such as ManyPenny and the Money Council, Royal Scholars Roxy and Red, Kings, Queens, Gem and the Royal Jewelers, Boots and the Royal Cobblers, Lid and the Royal Hatters, Stitch and the Royal Tailors, and more. No advance preparation is necessary before trying out, but those auditioning should remember that the ability to pay attention to instructions is a vital component of being chosen—and a smile never hurts. In addition to actors, Assistant Directors will also be cast to assist in rehearsals and take on essential backstage responsibilities. Unfortunately, not all those who try out are guaranteed a role, but experiencing disappointment, a true reality in life, can also lead to growth and maturity.

Auditions will be held at St. Clair Memorial Hall on Monday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. until noon, with the first rehearsal being held immediately following the cast announcement. Rehearsals continue throughout the week from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., so those auditioning should have a clear schedule for the entire week. Theatre workshops will also be led by the MCT crew following rehearsals; this year’s MCT acting/directing team consists of Louisiana Tech graduate Joshua Hires, who has been involved with the arts for most of his life, and Mandi Fielding, whose interest in theatre was sparked when MCT came to her local school.

The Emperor’s New Clothes will be performed on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 3 and 7 p.m. This priceless experience for young actors can easily be shared far and wide, as tickets to the show are just $5, providing opportunity for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and lots of other folks to support the youngsters as they perform. For more information regarding this MCT residency, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or

Inspiring a love of theatre early on can help youngsters develop their creative gifts, as well as create a lifelong appreciation for the arts. The magic of theatre sparks imaginations, cultivates creativity, and often results in improved academic performance regardless of socio-economic background of participants. Ultimately, involvement with theatre can be rewarding, fulfilling, and a whole lot of fun for all concerned.

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