When my son, Austin, was in 2nd grade, he found a safe haven in the after-school program at Missoula Children's Theatre (MCT). School had been tough for Austin; he was being picked on by his peers and was struggling to find his place. MCT not only provided him with a creative outlet, but it also gave him a community where he felt accepted and valued.
When Austin landed a major role in the play they were working on, it was like a light switched on inside him. He walked a little taller and carried himself with a newfound confidence that was nothing short of amazing.
Witnessing the profound impact that MCT had on my son, I knew I wanted to support this incredible organization that had given so much to us. It was a way for me to say thank you and to help other children have the same life-changing experience that Austin had.
Missoula Children's Theatre (MCT) is not just a local gem; it is a global force that brings the joy and educational benefits of theatre to children around the world. Founded in 1970, MCT began as a small venture by Jim Caron, an unemployed actor, who with Don Collins, another actor, saw the potential of children's theatre. This small venture has since transformed into an international phenomenon that impacts children in all 50 states, 5 Canadian provinces, and 16 countries across the globe.
MCT offers a range of programs that are designed to engage and educate children through the arts. From local performances and workshops to their International Tour and Performing Arts Camps, MCT is committed to providing access to the arts for children, regardless of their background or financial situation. The theatre prides itself on transcending barriers such as language, culture, and unique needs to bring the benefits of performing arts to children worldwide.
The importance of theatre in child development cannot be overstated. Theatre not only fosters creativity and imagination but also helps develop critical life skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving (or In my son’s case, a major confidence boost). Theatre can also be a powerful tool in healing and therapy for children who have experienced trauma.
MCT is deeply integrated into the Missoula community and plays a vital role in the city's cultural scene. The MCT Center for the Performing Arts, located in downtown Missoula, is a hub of activity, with an estimated 100,000 people coming through its doors each year. The theatre is not just a place for performances; it is a community center that brings people together and fosters a sense of belonging and community.
MCT has big dreams for the future. The theatre envisions reaching even more communities, especially those with few creative outlets or resources for children. The goal is to use the arts to help children grow into confident, successful citizens. MCT believes in the power of its programs and the positive results they can bring to children, regardless of where they are from or what challenges they face.
Let us celebrate and support this incredible institution that has made Missoula a brighter, more vibrant place to live and that is spreading the joy and benefits of theatre to children around the world.