June 11, 2019 By Rachel Jamieson, Havre Daily News
The local acting troupe is putting on its first KidsMAT Camp of the summer this week in Havre, followed by auditions Friday and Saturday for its youth production of "She Kills Monsters."
Montana Actors' Theatre Artistic Director Jay Pyette said the children's theater camps are essential to MAT's purpose.
"MAT started in looking for opportunities for our kids here in the arts," he said.
MAT again hired interns to put on KidsMAT and to help with the youth production. Rory Everingham, Austin "Jimmy" Nelson [Samantha Haan] and Kira Mills are this year's interns and Willow Riggin, Dever Everingham and Grace Crantz are assistants to the interns.
"We are looking for more people to join and help out," said Angie Pratt, who heads the youth production.
KidsMAT Camp is, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The children will rehearse and then produce "Snow White" Thursday at 7 p.m. in The Little Theatre in Montana State University-Northern's Cowan Hall.
The camps continue through the summer, including two more in Havre.
Next Monday, KidsMAT, will put together a Box Elder camp throughout the week and the following week will hold a camp at Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
July 8-11 KidsMAT will hold a camp in Shelby, then July 15-18 in Chinook.
The following week, July 25-27, is the youth production of "She Kills Monsters."
KidsMAT returns to Havre July 29 to Aug. 1 and more productions of "She Kills Monsters" Aug. 1-3.
KidsMAT goes to Hays-Lodge Pole Aug. 5-8, and back to Havre Aug. 12-15.
Ages for kids who want to be involved in the camps ranges from 5 to 13,
The youth production is for middle and high school-age youth. Auditions for the July-August play are Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. in The Little Theatre this week.
"She Kills Monsters" is a play written by Qui Nguyen in 2011 in which she takes the audience into an action-packed fantasy world as a young woman, Agnes Evans, leaves her home in Ohio after the death of her younger sister, Tilly. Agnes found her sister's Dungeons & Dragons journal and sets foot on the path to what was her sister's safe haven in an imaginary world.
The production will feature a full set and full costumes with a maximum of 15 parts and minimal of 10 parts. Actors will range from sixth grade to one year after high school and will take about six weeks to put together and will be produced by the end of July and will run for about three weeks.
Pratt took over the program years ago and did it herself for three years the interns came in. She said her favorite role was playing the main narrator in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and believes that theater is a way of therapy for her.
She said she has seen how theater has changed her and her life throughout the years.
"It gave me more confidence in talking in public which I hate, but I can do it because of theater,"," Pratt said. "It gave me more people skills because you learn how to be able to work with everyday people in different walks of life. It helped my creativity, by giving me a creative outlet.
"I really think it helped me in my adult life," she added. "It's therapy. Not often do you get to step out your life and be somebody else. In the theater, you can leave your life behind for awhile and be someone else."