MCT Begins Partnership with China National Theatre for Children

The Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) has embarked on a new collaboration with the China National Theatre for Children (CNTC) in Beijing.  CNTC will soon send two accomplished actors to Missoula to conduct a three-week internship, during which time they will train and work alongside MCT tour teams.  In late December, Mr. Yang Cheng and Ms. Wang Kun will arrive in Missoula for a three-week internship.  The training begins December 29th and concludes in mid-January with their participation in a residency week in Washington State, as they assist with a production of MCT’s original musical The Princess and the Pea.

This partnership began in April, when Mrs. Li Hong met with MCT Executive Director, Michael McGill, while she was visiting Missoula. Li Hong is the Minister Counselor for Cultural Affairs for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, D.C. During this meeting, a discussion began about MCT and CNTC possibly creating a cultural exchange.

Wang Kun

WangKun

Li Hong was impressed by the work and scope of the Missoula Children’s Theatre and its efforts to bridge cultural and geographical barriers through live theatre experiences for children around the world.  As a result, Michael McGill and Terri Elander, MCT’s International Tour Director, were invited as guests of the Ministry of Culture and CNTC to the 4th China Children’s International Theatre Festival in Beijing, China in July; meetings were held with CNTC President Yin Xiaodong and Vice-President Yang Fan.

Prior to leaving Beijing, McGill and Elander met with Ambassador Max Baucus at the U.S. Embassy, to bring greetings from Montana and brief him on the plans for a cultural partnership.  With Montana’s connection to China through the Ambassador’s office, and Governor Bullock’s recent Trade Mission, the timing is very good for Montana companies wanting to pursue new business and cultural ties with China.

Yang Cheng

YangCheng

Yang Cheng and Wang Kun are guests of the Missoula Children’s Theatre, and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the China National Theatre for Children.  According to McGill, “I believe that the two interns from China represent a first step toward building a strong partnership with the China National Theatre for Children.  The first piece of cooperation consists of Chinese and American Tour Actor/Directors training together in Missoula and eventually working together for the development of life skills in children throughout America and in China.  I envision this model, produced by representatives from our two countries working in cooperation, will show diplomacy at its best and present a positive look at what is possible by combining our efforts.  After this first training piece, we hope to present an MCT production together with our Chinese counterparts in Beijing, China in August of 2015.  Once we have achieved that collaboration, we will discuss a deeper partnership to work with more of the young people of China.”