By Traci HuttsellJuly 26, 2012
FORT HUACHCUA, Ariz. - Students from 1st to 12th grades partook in the Missoula Children's Theatre rendition of "The Secret Garden," last Saturday.
"It's pretty cool because it's a different play each year," said Samantha Wise, 12, an MCT veteran. "They add things into the play to give it more flavor, like me. I'm a Canadian goose.
"It's fun working with Missoula," Wise said. "The team members are enthusiastic, and get you into it. They make sure you give it your all."
The Missoula Theatre transported all costumes, props and lighting to the elementary school before the children's dress rehearsal and final performance.
Auditions were held the morning of July 16 at Colonel Johnston Elementary School allowing the children all week to rehearse before their final performance Saturday night.
"We want to plant the seed for the appreciation of the arts," said Kirsten Paisley, one of the two Missoula tour actor-directors who traveled to Fort Huachuca. "These kids have been fantastic … I'm really excited to be here."
Paisley said all of their plays are based on either fairytales or classic folklore, and every play is a musical.
"Missoula's mission is to teach life skills," said Megan Hartman, a fellow Missoula tour actor-director. "From the first day to the last day we ask ourselves, 'do the kids grow, or learn something about themselves?'"
The Missoula Children's Theatre travels to all 50 states, including 17 different countries.
"It's amazing to see what these children can learn in a week," said Suzanne Crawford, SKIESUnlimited instructional program specialist.
"We want these kids to have a lot of self confidence, practice, and have a lot of fun," Crawford said. "As long as you try, you should be proud of yourself."
The performance was fantastic," said Kim Maheu, assistant director, Expanding Horizons Child Development Center. "It was absolutely amazing! It was colorful, cheerful, and the children performed splendidly," she said. "There is total dedication on the part of the people who come in and on the part of Suzanne Crawford. … They work really hard to put this together," she stated.
The SKIESUnlimited, Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills, offers a variety of classes for military children and youth.
"We try to offer as many things as possible for children in the summer, and throughout the year, to keep them busy," Crawford said.
"I thought the performance was fantastic," said Susan Ford, whose daughter was in the production.
"The way they put it all together in five days is amazing," Ford said. "I hope they have more stuff like this."
Maheu said that, as far as she knows, the Children's Missoula Theater will be back again next year.