By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Missoula Children’s Theatre visited Schriever Air Force Base from July 15 to Friday to teach the School Age Program children about acting and help them mold invaluable life skills.
For two decades, the Missoula Children’s Theatre international tour has filled an important morale-building need on U.S. military bases, according to their website.
“Missoula Children’s Theater is all about teaching life skills to children through the arts. We don’t know if a lot of military bases get a lot of arts experience or opportunity,” said Grace Rubin, one of the two Missoula Children’s Theater tour actors and directors that visited the base. “It’s a new opportunity. A lot of kids have never been in a play before.”
Rubin and her partner Liz Behnke were able to cast, practice with and perform a full length production in front of an audience in just four-and-a-half days.
“Missoula has a very good system,” said Behnke. “It’s tried and true. There’s a specific teaching method that we use.”
The schedule is strict, in order to accomplish as much in a short amount of time as possible, but mapped out meticulously. Even taking into consideration that most younger children are unable to focus an entire day on practicing a play.
“The really important thing is that we never tell them, ‘you can’t do it,’” said Behnke. “We just tell them from the beginning that we’re going to put on a show in four days.”
It’s a “yes we can” attitude from the children that allowed the show to happen.
“Nothing is impossible to them,” said Rubin. “They memorize lines faster than we ever could. We hand them a script on Monday, and by Wednesday, everything is memorized. It’s just great.”
This is only the second time Missoula Children’s Theater has been to Schriever. Last year, the team produced “The Tortoise Versus the Hare.” This year’s production featured the theatre’s rendition of “Pinocchio.”
“I think the kids really get an improved confidence. The whole mission for Missoula is to teach life skills through theater,” said Behnke. “You’ll see kids at the beginning of the week who are very hesitant about being in the show and they’ll be very quiet, but by the end of the week they’ll be smiling and can’t wait to get on stage. They’ll see their costume and their face will light up. You can see the confidence in them. “
Missoula Children’s Theatre visits many Air Force bases across the U.S. and overseas.
To find out more about the program and see the schedule of their workshops, visit http://www.mctinc.org/.
The theatre group has also been selected by the Combined Federal Campaign, the annual workplace charity campaign for employees of the U.S. Government. If you would like to contribute to MCT through this program, use CFC code 20396.