In this new (and hopefully improved) year, it’s time to update you on what is going on (or not) at the MCT Center for The Performing Arts in Missoula.
What’s going on: Locally, the Missoula Children’s Theatre programming has successfully continued, due to “highly structured” health procedures that have kept staff and students safe. The cast, crew and instructors wear masks during rehearsals as well as performances, which are presented online, allowing far-away family and friends to enjoy. The children have taken the safety protocols in stride.
One of our day camp instructors shared: “One afternoon, campers were given the prompt, ‘What makes you happy?’ We asked them to write 5 things that make them feel happiness. Many wrote about hanging out with friends, their pets, school, and someone even wrote rosemary focaccia! There was one 1st grader though, who simply wrote …‘Here.’ “
What went on: We were able to provide online holiday season entertainment with the Missoula Community Theatre’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. We took the 2018 production of Elf the Musical off the shelf and added a special day camp production of Robin Hood. Stay tuned for more online opportunities while we explore what is possible!
There are Tour Residencies going on: We’ve safely and successfully produced several weeks of tour over the past few months in multiples states and are in the process of rescheduling those locations who still wish to present the program through the remainder of this current school year. The 2021 summer tour and 2021-2022 school year tour are being scheduled now, with hopes we can serve the many communities that wish to have MCT’s Little Red Truck back in their town.
What’s NOT going on: There are no live productions of the Missoula Community Theatre shows through the coming months and the 2021-2022 season has not been determined at the time of this post. Theatre, in general, will need to warm up again after such a long intermission to avoid pulling its organizational muscles. Undoubtedly, when MCT is able to move forward with live productions on stage and people in the audience, there will be continued protocols to which we will adjust. It will be different, at least for a while. But what used to be different is now the new normal.
In the realm of theatre, the stage manager will call “Places” when it’s time for actors and crew to be in their assigned positions for the start of the show, which is about to begin. In that moment, there is anticipation, excitement and nervous energy. The behind-the-scenes work involving long rehearsals for the actors/crew, construction of the set/costumes, marketing and box office preparation are about to pay off in that moment of backstage silence and laser focus. It’s been nearly a year since we experienced that ‘moment’ together. It’s been tough. We miss the volunteers, the audience, the smell of sawdust in the shop and fresh-brewed coffee in the lobby. We miss the friendly pre-show chatter before the house lights dim and the stage lights come up.
MCT’s commitment to stretch our resources responsibly in order to reach the other side of this challenging period has led to some tough decisions—one being the reduction of staff hours beginning in January 2021. We will strive to continue providing the highest level of service possible even while tightening our belt (which is a fitting metaphor for January, anyway). We are grateful for understanding and patience during this phase.
While the stage lights are not back on yet, there is some light…….at the end of this tunnel, with the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine and the hope it brings to us…. hope for that moment when we can open the doors, seat the audience, warm up the orchestra, dim the house lights and call… “Places.”