Missoula Children's Theater campers to perform Working

A theater camp brings kids from around the world to Western Montana every summer.
MCT Working Musical
Posted at 4:38 PM, Aug 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-10 18:38:34-04

MISSOULA - A theater camp brings kids from around the world to Western Montana every summer.

The Performing Arts Camp with the Missoula Children’s Theater (MCT) is a two-week-long summer camp at Flathead Lake.

High school students spend 10 days rehearsing a play before performing it on the MCT stage.

The MCT travels around the world spreading the art of theater and often visit schools and direct a play with the students.

During their travels, they select certain teenagers and offer them the opportunity to come to Montana for the PAC.

After applying and being accepted, sixth, seventh and eighth grade students attend a camp at Seeley Lake, while high school students stay at Flathead Lake.

The younger kids host an on-site performance at the end of camp while the older students perform on the MCT stage.

“Just being able to go to a summer camp and then come here to a professional-esque environment and be able to put on a show is really special,” Nick Monsos, a senior at the PAC, says.

The high school camp at Flathead Lake is split between freshmen and sophomores at the north shore and juniors and seniors at the south shore.

MCT Performers
During two days of rehearsal in Missoula, the campers need to adjust their performance to the stage at Missoula Community Theater.

The students learn which play they’ll be performing on the first day that they arrive and have 10 days to rehearse before coming to Missoula.

“It’s just really encouraging to see them all work together, you know?” Ella McMillion, a camp counselor at the PAC, says. “To come into a process where they don’t know any of the material yet, and in like a week and a half, come together and make a whole show is insanely impressive.”

While the kids spend all day rehearsing, it isn’t until the day before their first performance that the north and south shore students get to work all together.

“We’ve been collaborating, but this is the first time the kids are going to see it all come together,” McMillion says.

The 2023 performance will be a rendition of the musical ‘Working.’

“There’s funny songs, there’s sad songs, there’s songs that are just really fun to listen to and be in, so just be prepared for anything,” says camp sophomore Olive Kreta.

For the kids at this summer camp, they walk away with more than just a live performance under their belt — they gain new confidence.

“I actually could not sing in front of my family before I came here, and then last night I sang in front of our whole north shore people,” camp freshman Zeke Hiebert says.

They also make new, life-long friends.

“The friendships that you make —with any cast is just amazing — but just spending 10 days together, working on a show non-stop, it brings you together in a way that’s really special,” Kreta says.

With kids coming from all over the country, the campers learn new perspectives.

MCT Working Musical
The Missoula Children's Theater summer campers will perform the musical 'Working' from Aug. 10 until Aug. 12, 2023.

“Anytime you bring theater and art into a community, it’s not about who the leading player is, it’s about how to work as a team, and as a group and as a family,” McMillion says. “Theater is so unique in that way, you know you get really close to a group of people, you see them every day, all day, so I think learning to see peoples’ different perspectives and making an effort to show up and be open to peoples’ perspectives carries over into so much of life.”

After the students are accepted into the camp freshman year, they can come back every summer after that, without needing to reapply.

This means that the seniors have spent years at the camp, and are sad when it comes to their last performance.

“It’s really bittersweet,” Mansos says. “It’s like let’s take a step forward past the summer camps, and let's get on with my life, but then it’s also this camp has — it’s given me a lot of things and it holds a special thing in my heart.”

“I wish you could just keep coming back, there’s nowhere else on earth like this place,” says senior camper Charly Graham who is from Alberta, Canada.

Performances of ‘Working’ at MCT are at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, and at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets can be found online here.