Missoula Children's Theater, working with the POUNCE program at Lincoln Schools, returned to for a second year March 11 and 12 with a presentation of a re-imagined classic Hansel & Gretel. "Last year was supposed to be our off year," said POUNCE director Jackie Grantier, "but it was postponed ... because of COVID, so we did have it last year." Grantier said they had a close to record number of students turnout for the play, with 47 kids taking part. The retelling of the story saw Hank and Gretchen - played by Joshua Rios and Madylin Gilbert - missing out on their summer trip to Camp Wildwood and transported in a dream to the magical Wildwood Forest as Hansel and Gretel. Meanwhile, the Wildwood campers send their younger counterparts on a snipe hunt. During their dream visit Hansel and Gretel encounter Wallybirds, a band of Rascals and the Wildwood Witch, who has a secret that isn't what the Brothers Grimm included in their story. The Friday evening performance saw the bleachers packed with friends, family and community members, and the next day the kids were excited for their second performance. Layla and Ridge Bullis were ready to hit the stage. Ridge, a kindergartener who played a Wallybird, said he liked having wings and dancing. Meanwhile second grader Layla, who plays one of the Rascals, said her favorite part of the play was when they got to scare Hansel and Gretel. Olivia Jarell, as Older Camper # 3, said this was her first time in a play. "It's really fun," she said. "I just heard all the characters and just thought it would be really fun to do it." Jarrell had fun acting and said she wants to do more of it. She said her favorite part was at the beginning of the play, where she got to act mean to one of her friends. "I'm calling him like a big mouth. I'm like 'zip it, will ya?'" "We've got a great group of kids. They've been working really hard," Grantier said. "Having a four-day school week, we do have a little bit of a disadvantage because they do have four days, then show day." Missoula Children's Theater has been working with kids throughout Montana, in all 50 states and in 17 countries for 45 years, providing kids with the chance to star in re-imagined plays based on classic fairy tales and stories. With the POUNCE program invited back into the 21st Century Grant program for four years, Grantier said they're "super happy" to have the program back in Lincoln schools. "Our numbers have been running really strong and we've had great turnouts after school. The kids really seem to enjoy it." She said POUNCE has been doing a lot of other things with the kids this year as well. "We did a science fair project for the science fair. we've been doing a lot of STEM activities," she said, adding she's been working with Karyn Good and the Outdoor Club. "We've been meeting with the Outdoor Club to go skiing and skating until the weather went bad on us." She said she's planning a full summer program of activities for the POUNCE program.
Missoula Children's Theater, working with the POUNCE program at Lincoln Schools, returned to for a second year March 11 and 12 with a presentation of a re-imagined classic Hansel & Gretel.
"Last year was supposed to be our off year," said POUNCE director Jackie Grantier, "but it was postponed ... because of COVID, so we did have it last year."
Grantier said they had a close to record number...