Fifty-seven children took to the stage July 7-Saturday as they participated in the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Treasure Island” in the Colonel Johnston Elementary auditorium. Each summer, SKIESUnlimited brings the Montana-based performing arts group, MCT, on post to provide a one-week theater workshop for students in first-eighth grades.
According to Suzanne Crawford, SKIESUnlimited instructional program specialist, while the production gives students the opportunity to work hard and have fun at the same time, there is more they can take from the experience.
“This is an enrichment program,” she explained. “They learn all about theater and what goes on behind the scenes.”
Crawford added that the cast members’ involvement could inspire them for future jobs in the performing arts industry. Scott Dewar, SKIESUnlimited team member agreed.
“[Children] see careers as a doctor or a lawyer, not in the fine arts,” he said.
Play participants began with an audition. Each day, they made a commitment to return and rehearse until show time Saturday evening. “Treasure Island” was directed by MCT husband and wife, Kwame and Latreshia Lilly. Latreshia also performed in the play as a narrating character.
In order to manage over 50 students in different age groups, the couple said they must conduct themselves in an over-the-top, theatrical manner. The directors don’t put 100 percent into the job—they put in 200 percent, Latreshia continued. MCT’s touring staff travels all over the world and arrives equipped with costumes for each child, stage scenery, scripts and other items needed for a full-scale production.
SKIESUnlimited, “Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills,” is an Army Child, Youth and School Services, CYSS program for instructional classes. For more information on available programs, call 533.4823.