A not to be missed opportunity


By Marilyn Delk


Once upon a time near the beginning of the 21st century, a benevolent benefactor of Darke County Center for the Arts offered to provide local students the opportunity to participate in the wonder of theatre, and initiated Darke County Endowment for the Arts’ funding to bring Missoula Children’s Theatre to our community. Thus, Darke County became one of over 1,100 communities around the world presenting a delightfully entertaining, fully staged MCT musical starring local first- through twelfth-graders.

MCT Tour Actor/Directors bring to communities everything needed to put on a show, except for the actors. Although DCCA’s Executive Director at the time (that would be me) worried that nobody would show up for auditions, constantly pestering tolerant MCT personnel with “what if” questions, that initial production drew more wanna-be actors than could be accommodated by the MCT script, so the only disappointment was that not everyone who auditioned was given a part in the show. But happily, 60 local youngsters were cast, had a great time working and learning together, and created a memorable show enjoyed by cheering audiences. That pattern of success has continued ever since!

Once again this year, DCCA will present MCT’s take on a classic fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea, and once again offer opportunity for local students to partake of the life-enhancing opportunity to develop life skills through participation in the performing arts. However, this year, due to a scheduling conflict at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, that opportunity will come at an earlier date than in the past. I want to make sure that no one misses out on this wonderful experience, therefore I urge you to let every kid you know that Missoula Children Theatre’s little red truck will arrive at Memorial Hall on Monday, July 17, when auditions will be held from 10 a.m. until noon with rehearsals beginning immediately thereafter. Two performances of The Princess and the Pea starring our local youngsters will be given the following Saturday, July 22 at 3 and 7 p.m.

Available roles in MCT’s unique version of the classic tale include the Princess who lives in Riverdom, a kingdom of green rolling hills and running rivers, her parents, the King and Queen, her friend, the Pea, and her subjects—the Flower Gardeners, the River Runners, the Green Shoot Growers, and the Tree Barkers. Neighboring Glacierdom citizens include Winter Wind Workers, Blizzard Bringers, Icicle Sharpeners, and Snow Smoothers, who are ruled by the Storm King and Snow Queen whose son, Prince Ice Man, is looking for a proper Princess. Some Phony Princesses also reside within the snowy kingdom, as well as a pesky Jack Frost, who threatens Riverdom as well as its neighboring frigid state. The dancing Dust Bunnies and the loving Leprechaun Clan work to provide the positive force allowing all to live happily ever after in this twisting, turning narrative.

Missoula Children’s Theatre is the nation’s largest touring children’s theatre, and has been touring extensively for more than 40 years; their teams of Tour Actor/Directors lead the organized mayhem that ultimately culminates in an amazing experience for participants throughout the world. DCCA presents the opportunity for participation at no charge to the actors; the only requirement is that the school-age youngsters be available for intense rehearsals daily throughout the week. Rehearsals begin on Monday, July 17 at 12:30 p.m. and continue Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The MCT team will also present three enriching theatre workshops following rehearsals during the week.

Participation in theatre has been shown to be beneficial to youngsters, not only enhancing creativity, but also aiding social and communication skills and building self-esteem among participants, providing unique opportunity for individual success while also positively contributing to the accomplishments of the group. It is also a whole lot of fun, with each participant given an opportunity to shine. So, tell everybody you know not to miss this chance to share in this unique educational experience which will undoubtedly provide benefits and memories to last a lifetime. For more information, contact DCCA at www.Darke CountyArts.org or call 937-547-0908.

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