MIDALE - Students at Midale Central School showcased their acting skills earlier this month, as the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) came to the school for a performance of Hansel and Gretel.
Twenty-two students from Grades 2-10 were part of the production Jan. 14. Tammy Mercer, who teaches Grades 4 and 5 at the school, said the representatives of the children’s theatre arrived on Jan. 9.
The cast was selected on Jan. 10 following auditions, and rehearsals began that night. She estimates they dedicated about 20 hours of rehearsal time. They had a lot of fun, and the MCT members were very well organized.
“We had ideas at the beginning of the week of how we wanted the performance to go,” said Mercer. “Of course, with COVID, nothing ever goes as planned.”
The initial plan was to have a live audience for the performance, but they had to switch to a virtual production. It was still a great experience, Mercer said.
“The parents were so excited. They loved it. It was such a good opportunity. The kids felt really good about themselves. We as a school were just so excited to have that opportunity for the students.”
There were a few people in the gym to provide audience feedback, but it wasn’t opened up to parents or the community.
A recording of Hansel and Gretel will be provided to the kids as a keepsake.
It has Mercer excited to try to find opportunities for drama for the kids in the future.
Mercer noted this was the first Canadian residency for the children’s theatre since COVID-19 hit in March 2020. The MCT has held performances in many Canadian locations in the past.
“We were scheduled to do a different performance with a different crew, but just the requirements with crossing the border and everything else, at the last minute we had to switch plays and switch which crew was coming up.”
The MCT representatives were “amazing” to work with, Mercer said.
“They are so professional. They are so fun. They are so ‘Go with the flow, we’ll do what makes it work.’ They were absolutely fantastic. It was such a fantastic experience for the kids, staff and community alike,” said Mercer.
She noted that the school and the community came together, with staff ensuring everything worked and they could overcome obstacles that came up. The town was fantastic with their support as well, with parents preparing rehearsal meals for the kids.