News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Auditions near for Missoula’s spring break production of The Secret Garden

Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) is returning to Mill City this spring break for a production of The Secret Garden, with participation open to all K-12 students.

Auditions are scheduled for March 25 at the Santiam Jr/Sr High School auditorium and students will practice all week for performances on March 29 and 30.

The cost for performers is $20 per student or $40 per family, some scholarships are available. Tickets to the performances are $3 each with free admission for kids 5 and younger.

Caroline Gillaspy said the Santiam Canyon PTO is helping coordinate the event. She said the program is “a great introduction” for students into the performing arts.

“It is such a positive experience to have Missoula [Children’s Theatre] in our community and we appreciate the dedication of our school district and community to support this wonderful opportunity,” she said.

MCT was first brought to the Santiam Canyon in 2001 by prolific community organizer Anita Leach as part of the group’s national tour of student productions. These early performances were held during summer break. In 2015 spring break was added to the schedule.

This year’s play adapts the classic 1911 children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett about an ill-mannered orphan who learns to care for others while tending an abandoned garden. Michael McGill, who adapted the work into a stage musical for MCT, described the play as “a joyful retelling of a story of hope and celebration and all good things in life.”

All skill levels are welcome and MCT will match students with appropriate roles based on age and experience, said Gillaspy. Students will be given rehearsal schedules based on assigned roles, typically from 10 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 25 to 29.

There will also be workshops after practice on March 26 and 27 for students who want to explore improvisation, makeup and other theater arts.

Gillaspy said participation is open to students throughout the Santiam Canyon and beyond, such as those visiting relatives from out of town for spring break.

Students who miss this opportunity, or who can’t wait for the next, will have another chance to join an MCT production when they return July 15-20 for Treasure Island.

Gillaspy offered special thanks to community supporters including Joann Hebing, Dave and Carolyn Halemeier, Gale and Merleen Hoffert, Greg and Stephanie Grenbemer, Roseanna Juhola and Gary Swanson. Community partners also include Mike Long Benefit Golf Tournament, Santiam Hearts 2 Arts, and the Santiam Canyon School District.

The Secret Garden

Produced by Missoula Children’s Theatre
Auditions: March 25, 10 am
Performances: March 29, 6 pm March 30, 1 pm
Santiam Jr/Sr High School auditorium
Tickets:  $3 each, free for 5 and younger
Information: Caroline Gillaspy, 503-507-3930

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