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Children’s Theatre Puts on Summer Show

Brilyn Cotner wanders the galaxy as Gulliver in Missoula Children’s Theatre’s rendition of “Gulliver’s Travels” July 20, 2018, at the Youth Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Missoula Children’s Theatre travels the world giving children a glimpse inside the world of entertainment and the preforming arts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dedan D. Dials)

Brilyn Cotner wanders the galaxy as Gulliver in Missoula Children’s Theatre’s rendition of “Gulliver’s Travels” July 20, 2018, at the Youth Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The Missoula Children’s Theatre travels the world giving children a glimpse inside the world of entertainment and the preforming arts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dedan D. Dials)

The five robots of Lapunta, portrayed by Mi’ky Neal, Roderick Freeman, Alec Mutter, Parker Cotner and Joseph Coake, play the role of evil henchmen during “Gulliver’s Travels” July 20, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Later, these same characters helped teach math and science to the other aliens in the cosmos. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dedan D. Dials)

The five robots of Lapunta, portrayed by Mi’ky Neal, Roderick Freeman, Alec Mutter, Parker Cotner and Joseph Coake, play the role of evil henchmen during “Gulliver’s Travels” July 20, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Later, these same characters helped teach math and science to the other aliens in the cosmos. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dedan D. Dials)

A group of children act out the final scene in Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of “Gulliver’s Travels” July 20, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. This scene marked the end of the theatre company’s visit to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dedan D. Dials)

A group of children act out the final scene in Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of “Gulliver’s Travels” July 20, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. This scene marked the end of the theatre company’s visit to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dedan D. Dials)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Summer time is full of barbeques, fireworks, and children with too much free time on their hands. Whether or not parents work during the day or are home with the children (or grandchildren), finding productive, educational material to keep the little ones pre-occupied can be a challenge.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre travels the world giving children a glimpse inside the world of entertainment and the preforming arts. In just five days, MCT takes children through the audition, rehearsal and performance process of a full-length musical.

“It gives them a lot more than just teaching them a show, like the ability to make friends or the ability to speak in public,” said Samantha Fibiani, co-director of this year’s show.

MCT highlighted these principles in this year’s show “Gulliver’s Travels.”

During the show, the audience got to see many of the base’s youth travelling through space and solving the struggles of aliens scattered through the universe. One example was the conflict between of the Lilliput aliens and the Blefuscu aliens, who hate each other simply because the Lilliput aliens are green and the Blefuscu aliens are blue. Throughout the play, these two groups learned the color of one another’s skin should not define them. Instead they should embrace these differences and come together as one.

While some of the children on stage were as young as five, according to Fibiani, portraying these issues first-hand provides a healthy medium to learn and grow from. The children also received valuable training in public speaking and handling stress as they only had five days to prepare for the show. During this time, they had to learn the choreography, how to react and several pages of lines.

“It has the same responsibility as learning a full-length musical,” Fibiani said. “We strive for off-book as soon as Wednesday and I am consistently amazed by the children and what they are capable of.”

This program gives the children more than just something to keep them busy for a week; it serves as an introduction to theatre, public speaking and making friends outside of one’s age group.

“We always say we’re just planting seeds,” said Blaire Smith, actor and co-director of this year’s show.

With the seeds that MCT planted, the students learned the importance of being creative and expressive in an educational and developmental performance.