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Take a journey to self discovery

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By Kirsten Laskey

An adventure awaits Los Alamos youth as Missoula Children’s Theater presents “King Arthur’s Quest,” but this isn’t just a journey into the fantasy world of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s an opportunity for young people to develop self-esteem and confidence onstage.

The adventure begins with auditions at 9 a.m. Monday at the Duane Smith Auditorium. The production is open to anyone in 1st through 12th grade. There is no fee to audition.

Doris Thielemann, who chairs the Missoula program for the Los Alamos Arts Council, said between 50-60 parts are open to young thespians. Those who are chosen for a role will begin work right away. Rehearsals begin as soon as the audition ends. The performance will be at 7 p.m. July 31 at the Duane Smith Auditorium. Children age 12 and younger will be admitted for $5 and adults will be admitted for $10. Those who auditioned but did not get a part will be admitted to the show at no charge.

Besides preparing for the performance, Missoula will host two free workshops that will be open to the public. One will address improvisational theater and the other will focus on makeup.

More information on the day and time for the workshops will be available during auditions Monday.

Thielemann said the experience is valuable to young people because, “the kids learn a lot about presentation and acting and just being on stage. Working with the directors helps them get new skills or develop their skills and it’s also a lot of fun.”

One of the skills they developed, Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director Marlanne Hamilton added, is self-confidence.

“It’s a self-esteem building thing,” she said. “Some of the kids are really shy and the directors make it possible for a very shy child to come out and give it their best and succeed at the show and perform.”

Maria Jaleh McTeigue, who performed as the Blue Fairy in last year’s Missoula production of “Pinochle,” can attest to the benefits the experience offers.

“They did a lot of professional work and they did a lot of neat exercises,” she said. “I really enjoyed doing the production; it was a new experience.”

Jaleh McTeigue added that although it was her first time in a theater production, she had taken a drama class and discovered Missoula offered an avenue to put what she had learned into action.

“It’s a great way to express yourself … in the long run it’s very worthwhile,” she said.