Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

July 11, 2013

Fast-paced Imaginations

Missoula Theatre brings play to life in five days

VALDOSTA — Arriving Monday for the first day of Little Actors Theatre hosting Missoula Children’s Theatre, none of the 30 area children had any idea who would play the Seven Dwarfs, let alone Snow White.

By morning’s end, all of the children had auditioned. By afternoon, Snow White had been selected, along with the dwarfs, the wicked queen, the prince and the rest of the familiar characters.

By Tuesday, they rehearsed and built the show’s set on the Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center stage. By Wednesday, the youngsters, ranging in ages from 6 to 17 years old, were “off book,” meaning they had mostly memorized their lines and were no longer allowed to bring scripts on stage.

Today and Friday, they will continue rehearsing. On Saturday morning, they will wear their costumes for the first time for full dress rehearsal. On Saturday afternoon and again that evening, they will perform “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” for audiences.

For 10 years, Diane Tovar, the Valdosta-based Little Actors Theatre director, has coordinated and hosted Missoula Children’s Theatre in South Georgia.

Each summer, for the past decade, Missoula has sent two theatre professionals to Valdosta. Based in Missoula, Mont., the children’s theatre company sends theatrical teams to towns throughout the nation and the world.

The theatre troupe began more than 40 years ago in response to a practical need. A Montana theatrical production received an invitation to perform in another town. Director Jim Caron realized the troupe could not take the show’s children actors with them. So he decided to audition children in the other town. When about 100 children arrived to audition for seven roles, Caron realized the need for children’s theatre.

Caron formed Missoula with the goal of bringing theatre to children in locations across the United States.

Missoula professionals Jake Stempel and Kelly Combs arrived Sunday in Valdosta. South Georgia is their fifth stop this year. At each stop, they have a week to prepare, direct, rehearse and present a show with participating children ranging from cast sizes as small as 25 to 300, Stempel says.

Combs and Stempel, both of Chicago, have been involved with Missoula tours for the past year and a half.

Combs’ Missoula association began as a child when she was one of a group of youngsters participating in a visiting show.

Stempel’s theatrical interests began as a 5-year-old, playing the Scarecrow in a small, community production of “The Wizard of Oz.” He’s been hooked on theatre ever since.

Missoula doesn’t just introduce children to performing in a show, or honing their theatrical skills, it helps them prepare for life, Stempel says.

“The Missoula mission statement reads that we promote life skills,” he says. “... It helps develop responsible behavior, respect for others, communicating with other people.”

Leading these sessions, Stempel and Combs see children’s confidence and abilities grow within a short creative burst of time as they have five days to prepare from start to finish a 50-minute show.

Wednesdays are often big confidence days as children realize they are able to learn lines and song lyrics within a couple of days. Working with youngsters, Stempel has learned a few lessons, too.

“The thing I’ve learned about kids is they have impeccable memories and impeccable imaginations,” Stempel says.   

THE CAST: Elyssa Pate, Henny Hari, Church Barnas, Cathyrine Allbritton, Joanna Jasinski, Kaitlin Allbritton, Dylan Schindler, Aloura Barnas, Lauren Lewis, Alex Cope, Lori-Beth Bowen, Gabbie Bradford, Alissa Pellicone, Katie Barber, Lauren Grier, Madison Belt, Amanda Talor, Shelby Wilson, Emily Criss, Nicole Wilson, Jaylon McDougal, Sydney Hammond, Katie Smith, Madeline Pitts, Kennedy Lilly, Lawrence Smith, Bella Iturralde, Chandler Monetti, Savannah Osheim.

PRODUCTION: Haylee Johnson, assistant director; Jake Stempel, Missoula actor; Kelly Combs, Missoula director.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-valdosta_appr#10C8BA.jpg Officials serve lunch to city employees

    The City of Valdosta hosted its annual employee appreciation luncheon Thursday at John W. Saunders Memorial Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Wiregrass003.jpg Wiregrass learns through play

    For three years, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has hosted its Wired Up! event to engage students, faculty and staff in a fun but educational activity day.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • rain.jpg More spills? Valdosta braces for more rain

    In the past four weeks, Valdosta has experienced four major rain events that dumped more than three to four inches of rain on the area per incident.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140117-Scott_SGMAC-001.jpg Moody in running for Afghan pilot mission

    Moody Air Force Base is one of three military bases being considered for a temporary mission to train Afghan pilots next year, Rep. Austin Scott told the South Georgia Military Affairs Council Thursday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City: Most overflows stopped

    The City of Valdosta reported Wednesday evening that all manhole overflows resulting from Tuesday’s heavy rains had stopped, with the exception of two.

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416-gov_deal002.jpg Signed into law

    Gov. Nathan Deal went on a signing tour Wednesday across Georgia, flying into the Valdosta Regional Airport to sign three bills into law.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 2 charged in N.C. kidnapping

    Two more people were charged in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, bringing the number to at least eight people who authorities say were involved in the elaborate plot.

    April 17, 2014

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results