Missoula Children’s Theatre Teaches Acting and Life Skills


If you love to act and put on shows, Missoula Children’s Theatre is the summer activity for you!

If you love to act and put on shows, Missoula Children’s Theatre is the summer activity for you! Missoula Children’s Theatre is an acting company that auditions kids to be in a play through South Suburban. Vickie Willis, the Culture and Enrichment Supervisor from South Suburban Parks and Recreation, notes that Missoula has done twelve productions over nine years through South Suburban. The play is taught to the kids in one week, and the performances take place on Friday and Saturday. Past plays include The Princess and the Pea, Jack and the Beanstalk, and many other fairy tales and fables that children love. Addie, age 7, says that her favorite part of Missoula Children’s Theatre is all of the different characters.
Missoula Children’s Theater has an interesting history. In the summer of 1970, a man named Jim Caron was driving to a friend’s wedding in Oregon. His car broke down and luckily a service station was nearby in Missoula, Montana. There Jim saw a poster advertising auditions for a play called Man of La Mancha. Jim decided to audition, and when he was cast, he met Don Collins. Together they created a company where adults would put on plays for kids. When it was appropriate, they cast kids for plays such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. But when that very play was requested in Miles City, Montana, Caron and Collins were not thrilled to take the responsibility of driving across Montana with seven kids. Then they took a risk and decided to cast seven kids in Miles City. When 450 children showed up, they were astounded! They recognized that many kids had the dream of acting, and that they should cast as many kids as possible instead of only when needed.
This year, the production was Cinderella. Jill Carucci, one of the two directors, attended a hiring conference and auditioned to teach Cinderella in Tennessee. She and her partner Sam Adrain travel to eight cities each summer to teach the annual musical. Every year the auditions are held, and if there are more kids than there are spots, a few kids will not be cast. Cambria, age 10, explained, “The tryouts made me nervous, but also excited and happy.”
Jill says, “Missoula lets kids know that they are capable to put on a show in just five days.” Her favorite part of Cinderella is the variety of songs. Sam also loves teaching for Missoula. He was lost in his childhood, but when he discovered acting, it changed his life. He hopes to give that opportunity to other children like himself. Vickie Willis explained that Missoula is great for kids because it teaches them theater skills and life skills.
Although this year’s musical took place on July 13 and 14, keep watching the South Suburban catalog for future plays!