Mission accomplished with MCT


By Marilyn Delk


The stated mission of Missoula Children’s Theatre, the 50-year-old theatre company that travels to all 50 states and 17 countries annually, is to develop life skills in children through participation in the performing arts. And our community experienced the fulfillment of that goal once again last week, as thirty local youngsters worked together to create a delightful production of The Princess and the Pea in one short, busy, fruitful week! The MCT team consisted of two talented actor/directors who were as impressed with and appreciative of Darke County and its talented youngsters as the community is with the consistent high quality of MCT.

MCT’s Timothy Loosarian and Carlysle Garland described Greenville as a lovely town that reminded them of Missoula. “Add mountains, and it would be Missoula,” said Carlysle. “And the kids are great—so helpful and supportive of each other, getting the idea of working together,” Timothy added. Carlysle explained that successfully working together to achieve common goals for the betterment of all is the underlying theme of The Princess and the Pea. “Bringing people together despite their differences, making healthy compromises, finding similarities and discovering that we are all human—that’s what we do at MCT,” she said.

Timothy who hails from Middletown, Delaware won a role in a local production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at age 11, and was instantly hooked on theatre. The dedicated young actor said that he had a hard time in school before his initial theatre experience, but that the confidence gained from participation in the show spurred him to better performance in many areas. Now pursuing a degree in theatre, he continues to be thrilled at the opportunity to follow his dreams.

Carlysle grew up in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, where she participated in her first Missoula Children’s Theatre production as a fourth grader, then the next year played Gretel in MCT’s Hansel and Gretel. She first joined MCT as a tour actor in 2015, earned her degree at University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, and now lives in Atlanta, where she has worked on many movies and TV productions.

Timothy believes that theatre provides great opportunities for youngsters, and has enjoyed witnessing kids become excited and happy at “finding their people” while participating in this show. Carlysle agreed, saying that she has used skills gained through theatre in other areas including jobs as a server and in telemarketing.

Timothy then related an experience with a shy boy in another Ohio city who had difficulty “coming out of his shell.” “I encouraged him to embrace the joy of theatre, and he blossomed!” Timothy said. But the biggest thrill was when the show was done, and that boy approached Timothy to announce “You are my inspiration.” This full circle experience inspires and motivates the MCT actor as he continues in his chosen profession.

Darke County Center for the Arts’ presentation of Missoula Children’s Theatre provides opportunity for local youngsters to participate in a fully-realized theatrical production, experiencing the thrill of performing on the stage of historic St. Clair Memorial Hall for an appreciative audience of family members and neighbors. But MCT achieves much more than that, as stated in the organization’s mission statement: “MCT strives to use participation in the performing arts as a vehicle to develop the lifeskills (social skills, communication skills, self-discipline, a strong work ethic, an understanding of the team concept and self-esteem) necessary to answer the challenges of our time… . The lesson they learn is that all of them are necessary for the show to go on. Few arenas exist where responsibility is taught and learned so clearly. MCT provides a unique opportunity to learn the lessons of group dynamics while excelling as an individual—a lesson from art that carries into life.”

If you ask the youngsters who participated in this MCT residency, they will probably just tell you that they had a really good time. And having a good time with the arts is a good thing, and an important part of DCCA’s goal in annually presenting this opportunity to our community. Mission accomplished!

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