‘Robin Hood’ enriches lives of participants

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2011

By Baileigh Rebowe


Reserve — Children of all ages lit up St. John Theatre Saturday as they performed a song and dance rendition of Robin Hood.

Missoula Children’s Theatre, from Missoula, Mont., took up residency at the theater last Monday, teaching local children acting skills and casting them to perform for family and friends in just five days.

The stop in Reserve was part of Missoula’s summer tour of the south.

Director Cayce Crowder said Missoula provided the set and costumes for the show, and auditions for roles began immediately when she arrived.

“We had to start right away,” said Crowder. “But the kids really did awesome. They all knew their lines by Wednesday. The show went really, really well.”

Crowder said it is great to have the opportunity to teach theater to children because some schools don’t have an arts or drama program.

Carrie Gabbert, Missoula tour actor and Sherwood of the Forest in the show, was the only Missoula actor to perform. She is currently a musical theater student at Drake University in Illinois but decided to travel with the program for the summer because she wanted to give back.

“I know without theater when I was young, I wouldn’t be doing what I love right now,” said Gabbert. “When Missoula gave me this opportunity, I knew I had to take it. Plus it’s just plain fun. The kids are spectacular.”

The children rehearsed all week from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Samuel Cox, who played Robin Hood, said he enjoyed getting to know more people. He said he was excited to have a big role despite the line memorization.

“I thought it was going to be hard at first, but when I got into it, it really wasn’t,” said Samuel.

His father, Jeff Cox, said performing has helped Samuel break out of his shell and not be so shy.

“He came home the first night singing away in the room. I kept hearing the noise and wondering what it was,” he said.

He said he is grateful to St. John Theatre and programs such as Missoula for what they do.

“How would we ever know all these kids had this much talent?” said the elder Cox.

Missoula Children’s Theatre started in 1970 and currently tours all 50 states and 17 countries around the world.

About 65,000 children will participate in a residency this year.