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Theatre troupe gets an encore

Dozens of kids will be selected for troupe's production

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Aug 28/02) - Students and theatre lovers alike have spoken in Rankin Inlet and what they have said is -- Encore!

Their voices have been heard and, as a result, the Missoula Children's Theatre is returning to Rankin for another performance.

The Missoula theatre is the largest touring children's theatre in the United States.

The troupe made its inaugural appearance in Rankin a memorable one this past year with a rousing rendition of Sleeping Beauty.

The theatre sends a two-person team of actor-directors to the communities it visits.

In addition to holding auditions, directing the kids and taking part in the actual play, the daily workshops held by the team help the children develop social and communication skills, while improving their self-discipline and self-esteem.

Maani Ulujuk middle school teacher Julie Millen says this year's production is the Wiz of the West, a modern adaptation of the classic, Wizard of Oz.

The troupe will arrive in Rankin on Sept. 20 and hold auditions from the three schools during the following six days. About 70 kids will be selected to take part in the production.

"We're bringing the Missoula Children's Theatre back because of the overwhelming success of last year's production," says Millen.

"I've already told a number of parents that the troupe is coming back and they were just thrilled. The whole community was quite impressed by how far the kids came during one week of rehearsals for last year's show."

Local students are excited the Missoula Troupe is returning and Millen says the play is a great way to kick off the new school year on a positive note.

She says Missoula is also thrilled to be coming back, adding that the two actor-directors from last year's performance had a terrific time.

"We booked really late. It wasn't until the month of May I called to make the arrangements. They really struggled to fit us in. It took a lot of effort, which shows how much they wanted to return."

Millen shares the sentiment of the vast majority who witnessed the 2001 show when she says the performance was truly something special.

"The kids just shone in the spotlight.

"They were truly proud of what they accomplished," she says.