Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Missoula Children’s Theatre Camp

Lila definitely has the "performance art bug." Whether she's singing, acting, or dancing, she is naturally drawn to the stage. When Lila's grandma was looking for birthday gift ideas for our little rising star, I came across a flyer for the Missoula Children's Theatre Camp. It was the perfect gift-- an experience that Lila would truly enjoy and remember. 

Soon Lila was signed up and ready to go. About a week before camp, we received the details. The kids, ranging from Kindergarten through 12th grade, would be cast on Monday and by Friday evening they would be prepared to showcase a full theatrical performance. Having been in a few plays in high school and now working for a college with a conservatory of theater arts, I know a little bit about what goes into a production. I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that in just one week (actually 5 days) they would be performance ready.

But Missoula Children's Theatre (MCT) has this all down to a science. Although this was the first time that it was on my radar, this was actually the MCT's 25th season at our local theater. They travel around to communities throughout the country, with everything they need to put on a full-scale children's production. They teach and inspire kids nationwide by exposing them (even if it's just for a week) to the joys of musical theater. In such a short amount of time, the children form a bond, jelling into an ensemble, and together take on the challenge of learning lines, songs, and dance routines to be performed by the week's end. And they have a blast! After the first day, Lila was waking up early, eager to go and have fun with her new friends and teachers. She absolutely loved it.

Lila's group put on a production of The Little Mermaid (a different story line than Disney's The Little Mermaid). Lila was cast in the role of a "sea pony." All the behind the scenes preparation was kept under wraps, so family and friends filed into the theater Friday night not knowing what to expect. What we got was an entertaining, adorable performance. Sure, with just a week preparation, there were some fumbled lines and missteps, but nothing is better than witnessing the confidence, creativity, and pride in these young performers shining on stage.

The Sea Ponies in The Little Mermaid

Lila the Sea Pony- so proud of her great performance!

At the end, there were lots of hugs and smiles and promises to see each other the same week next summer. Lila's experience with the Missoula Children's Theatre not only created a lasting memory, but perhaps an annual tradition. -Tara

Our star, post-production, being showered with flowers and gifts. 

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