Alexander Katalinic jumps into the arms of Ben Evans-Langton as they cower with director Sam Helmer and Samantha Sewell after hearing a sinister noise during a rehearsal for the Missoula Children’s Theatre Wednesday at the Performing Arts Centre.

Alexander Katalinic jumps into the arms of Ben Evans-Langton as they cower with director Sam Helmer and Samantha Sewell after hearing a sinister noise during a rehearsal for the Missoula Children’s Theatre Wednesday at the Performing Arts Centre.

Acting out at camp

The annual week-long camp offered by Missoula Children’s Theatre is back at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre this week.

Local youth are taking on one beast of a show at summer camp this week, but at least there are no annoying mosquitos to swat away.

Located in the cool confines of the Vernon Performing Arts Centre,  the students, ages six to 18, are instead learning the ins and outs of the theatre.

The annual week-long summer camp offered by Missoula Children’s Theatre is back at the centre, and this year 54 kids are enrolled and getting ready to stage Beauty Lou and Country Beast, said Brian van Wensem, the PAC’s audience development coordinator.

“The show is based on Beauty and the Beast and it’s Missoula Children’s Theatre’s twist on things where they make it their own story,” said van Wensem.

One of the largest touring children’s theatres in the U.S., Missoula will visit nearly 1,200 communities this year with up to 47 teams of tour actor/directors.

The tour team arrives in a given town with a set, lights, costumes, props and make-up, everything it takes to put on a play, except the cast.

That’s where the camp participants  come in.

Under the direction of Sam Helmer and Angela Raielle Brown, the Vernon campers are doing much more than just memorizing  lines.

Besides playing fun theatre games, and getting to know one another, the campers are getting an experience that develops creativity, social skills, goal achievement and self-esteem, said van Wensem.

“For those who aren’t interested in being in the spotlight, there are backstage spots available that will teach important fundamentals of running a production from behind the scenes.”

The students’ hard work culminates Saturday when Beauty Lou and the Country Beast takes the stage for two open-to-the public shows at the Performing Arts Centre at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Tickets to see the production are $12 each (all seats) and can be purchased at the Ticket Seller, 549-7469, ticketseller.ca.