Give Methow funds help bring popular troupe back to valley
The Missoula Children’s Theatre, an annual tradition for local school students, returns next week after missing last year’s performance for the first time in more than two decades.
Reductions in state funding for the arts forced Methow Arts, which brings Missoula Children’s Theatre to the Methow Valley, to cut the program last year. “It wasn’t emotionally easy,” said Ashley Lodato, arts education director for Methow Arts. “It was the only way to keep visual and literary arts programs in the schools going.”
But after raising money earmarked for Missoula Children’s Theatre through last year’s Give Methow fundraising campaign, Methow Arts is able to bring the popular program back. “The community was incredibly generous,” Lodato said.
Missoula Children’s Theatre is a touring company that brings professional actors who conduct auditions and rehearsals during a week-long visit that culminates in a fully staged performance complete with costumes, scenery, props and makeup. The company began coming to the Methow Valley in 1993, giving hundreds of children over the years an opportunity to experience live theater.
This year’s production is a retelling of “The Secret Garden,” about a girl who embarks on a journey from India to her uncle’s home in England. In her journey she encounters an unusual assortment of characters and ultimately finds happiness in her new home.
Auditions will be held Monday (Nov. 5) from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Methow Valley Elementary School Cub Gym. Students in first through 12th grades are encouraged to audition. Some cast members will be asked to stay for rehearsal immediately following the audition.
There are parts for 50 students, so not all who audition will be cast. No advance preparation is needed. Some students will also be selected as assistant directors. There is a $25 participation fee, and some scholarships are available. Rehearsals will be held throughout the week from 3:30 – 8 p.m. each day, and rehearsal schedule depends on the students’ roles.
Performances for the community will be Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Methow Valley Elementary School Commons. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students 6 – 18, and free for children under 5. Free tickets are available to clients of The Cove, Room One, and the Senior Center at those locations.