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Oct. 15, 2020

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Missoula Children's Theatre returns to Orléans
By Fred Sherwin
March 5, 2019

The MCT Orléans production of The Snow Queen featured Taylor Smith as Gerda and Jenna Stevenson as the Old Robber Woman. Photo courtesy of Kimberly McRae
The Missoula Children's Theatre traveling road show made its annual stopover in Orléans last week to stage a production of The Snow Queen at the Shenkman Arts Centre with the help of 60 young actors from the local community.

The Missoula Children's Theatre company is based in Montana. Every year they send out more than 40 teams of directors and instructors to stage children's productions across North America including Orléans where they have been coming for more than 20 years.

The entire production takes less than a week to stage, starting with auditions on the Monday and culminating with a pair of performances six days later.

More than 80 children between the ages of five and 17 showed up for auditions this year, making the task of selecting the 60 member cast extremely difficult. The younger cast members were given the supporting roles of Snow Chickens and woodland animals, while the older kids were given the lead roles or assigned to the chorus.

Scripts were handed out to the successful cast members immediately after the auditions and rehearsals began after school the following day.

The Snow Queen is based on Danish fairytale about a girl named Gerda whose friend Kay has been placed under a spell by the Snow Queen and taken to her icy palace.

Determined to find her friend, Gerda embarks on a quest that takes her to strange lands where she meets a variety of characters including a group of robbers led by the Old Robber Woman and the Little Robber Girl; a Finnish gardener who tries to place Gerda under her own spell; and a pair of crows who help her find the palace where Kay is being held captive. Gerda eventually frees her friend when her tears melt the palace and break the spell.

The Missoula production was a wonderful experience for the young cast who had to learn their parts in less than a week with the help of their Missoula instructors Justin Kline and Daniel Boughton who did double duty as the director and the narrator respectively.

As for the play itself, considering the shortened time frame they were working under, it was surprisingly entertaining. The young cast members were adorable as the Snow Chickens, as were the snow animals and the team of robbers.

My favourite were the hobgoblins who had to double as trees, a river, a bridge and a castle throughout the play.

The lead role of Gerda was given to local children's theatre veteran Taylor Smith who was her wonderfully talented self. Kay was played by Tyson Grant and the part of the Snow Queen was played by Miriam Pereira.

The rest of the lead roles were played by Aidan Scheiman, Jenna Stevenson, Zoe Tessier, Eden Baker, Anick Williams, Zachary Everett, Olivia Paul, Aydriad Martin, William Baker and Cadence Everett.

To find out more about future Missoula productions e-mail mcto@gmail.com.

 

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Orléans, Ontario K4A 2C1
Phone: 613-447-2829
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