The Pied Piper is coming for your kids.

That's because for this year's local production of the Missoula Children's Theatre, children of all ages will have the opportunity to perform in Missoula's own musical version of the classic legend, “The Pied Piper.”

Auditions for the children's play will be held on Monday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. in the Josie Adams Cultural Centre at 816 Main St. in Woodward.

The auditions are open to children in kindergarten through 12th grades, with a total of 50 to 60 students to be cast for the production.

“There are parts for all ages so no one should be discouraged from auditioning,” said Charlie Burns, executive director of the Woodward Arts and Theatre Council, which hosts the annual children's theatre program.

There is no preparation required for the auditions. “Kids can just show up,” Burns said.

However, those interested in auditioning are asked to arrive early as there will be paperwork to fill out, he said.

In addition, he said those who want to participate in the show must be able to commit to a weeklong rehearsal schedule.

“Whoever is cast in the show will rehearse Monday evening after auditions through Friday evening,” Burns said, noting that two 2-hour rehearsals will be held nightly at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

After a week of rehearsing, the children will get to show off all they've learned with two performances on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Burns noted that this year the Missoula play will coincide with the Fall Break holiday at local schools.

“By holding during Fall Break, that provides an opportunity for students who do not go on vacation or go out of town to perform and be involved in community theatre,” he said.

In addition, by participating in Missoula Children's Theatre, Burns said that local students have the opportunity to work with some talented professional actors.

“The staff that Missoula hires are 2 traveling actors who produce the play entirely themselves; they cast it, direct it, and produce it all themselves. And the persons they hire usually have theatre degrees from universities with well-known and highly-recognized theatre programs such as New York University, Brigham Young, and Northwestern University in Chicago,” he said.

Best of all, Burns said that the children get to experience this great exposure to theatre for free.

“There is no cost to participants,” he said. “We consider this a community service for any of our youth who are interested in participating in theatre.”

Burns said the children's program is made possible by grants from the Oklahoma Arts Council as well as local sponsorships.

“We're grateful that our community is generous enough to support arts education,” he said.

He explained that students who participate in the Missoula production have the opportunity to learn a number of valuable lessons and skills.

“It's interesting to see how this theatre program is able to bring young actors and actresses out of their shells and teach them memorization, discipline on state, and trust of the other actors and directors, as well as gain an appreciation for theatre not only as performers but for shows they may go see as well,” Burns said.

For more information about the upcoming Missoula auditions and production, contact Burns at the Woodward Arts and Theatre Council at (580) 256-7120. Or you may send an e-mail with questions to watc@att.net.

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