New Kids Theater Program Mixes Instruction and Performance

By Beacon Staff

Last year, Alpine Theatre Project launched its kids program with classes taught by professional actors. This year, the project goes one step further by adding a performance-based instruction program.

“The feedback was that kids want more performing opportunities,” said project founder Betsi Morrison. “So we’re combining the two.”

Geared for Flathead Valley younger kids ages 6-13, the six-week theater instruction program begins this next week with auditions. The program culminates in a production of Disney’s popular musical The Jungle Book KIDS.

“As opposed to just rehearsing the show and putting it on its feet, the program includes instruction,” said Morrison. The program, taught by professional actors Morrison and Luke Walrath, breaks into two parts: theater games and improvisation followed by rehearsing the show. “After all, that’s really what the end product of theater really is,” added Morrison.

The stage version of Disney’s beloved animated musical is based on Rudyard Kipling’s book–a collection of short stories about Mowgli, a human boy raised in the Indian jungle, and his adventures with the bear Baloo, the panther Bagheera, and the monkey King Louie. It features the popular songs “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.”

The Theatre Education Through Performance program is meant to complement other kids acting programs in the valley. “While Whitefish Theatre Company is doing something for older kids, we’re taking the younger kids,” explained Morrison.

Auditions for the Theatre Education Through Performance program and musical are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Whitefish Middle School Auditorium. Classes begin in Whitefish on Monday, Oct. 27, and run on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4-7 p.m. Three performances of The Jungle Book KIDS are scheduled for Dec. 6-7 in the Whitefish Performing Arts Center.

The program costs $50 and includes a T-shirt. Need-based scholarships are also available. For more information, call 406-862-9050.