Children learn theater basics in workshop


Weekend performances conclude project




Justin Braun, center, a resident actor with Missoula Children’s Theatre, works with a group of local girls during a rehearsal for this weekend’s performances of Beauty Lou and the Country Beast. The workshop is a weeklong theater experience for children age 12 and under in which they learn a play and perform it live at the end of the week. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)


A group of 37 local youths is getting a firsthand theater experience this week that will culminate with two performances at the Holland Theatre.


Two members of the Missoula Children’s Theatre, a traveling actor-in-residency program based out of Missoula, Mont., have set up shop at the Holland Theatre to teach children age 12 and under the basics of performance.

“We are trying to instill a sense of accomplishment, commitment and ability to work well in a group while letting these children find talents they might not have known they had,” actress 

Bryn Butler said, noting that the theater group teaches about 65,000 children and 750,000 audience members each year.

“We’re really excited to be here and it’s fun to watch children start out on Monday not knowing the show and be able to put it on by Friday.”

In addition to learning basic acting skills, the youths will put on a show created by Missoula Children’s Theatre titled Beauty Lou and the Country Beast, which is based off the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast, Ms. Butler said.

The youths said they were excited to learn a new set of skills in a fun environment.

“I decided to do it because I thought it would be fun and one of the best times of my life,” participant Brooklyn Horner, 9, of Bellefontaine said, noting that she has learned about singing, dancing and delivering speeches.

“My favorite part of the show is when Clyde the dog comes out and does a whole dramatic scene.”

Anastasia Hiatt, 12, of Bellefontaine, said she is using the workshop as a stepping stone to future musical and drama performances.

“It sounded like a lot of fun to do and also to have the experience for high school,” she said.

Show times for the performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors or children under age 12. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance by contacting the Holland Theatre at 592-9002.