MCT, UM Confucius Institute and Beijing Theatre Collaboration

The Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) continues its collaboration with the China National Theatre for Children (CNTC) in Beijing.  The relationship began in 2014 during a meeting with representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, and has resulted in several unique and exciting projects.

*January of 2015: Two CNTC actors trained alongside new MCT Tour Actor/Directors and then travelled to Renton, WA to see an MCT week in action with The Princess and the Pea.

*August 2015: MCT sent a tour team to China to produce The Princess and the Pea with 60 local Beijing students, in English, as part of the 4th China Children’s International Theatre Festival.  Among the enthusiastic audience members were U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus, his wife Melodee Hanes and numerous representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Culture.  The project was listed as an achievement of 6th Round of the China-US High Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange 2015, an annual meeting, which was chaired by US Secretary of State, John Kerry in Washington, DC.

Peter Pan, courtesy of MCT*December 2015: A CNTC representative, Ms. Simeng Kong, was selected for a prestigious 3-month internship in Arts administration with MCT, which was funded entirely by the Chinese Ministry ofCulture.

*CURRENTLY:  Nine Missoula area high school students are preparing for a two-week trip to China this summer.  They are Benjamin Blackwell, Nathan Dudden, Kade Hedahl, Oliver Chinn, Angel Frisbie, Chance Leuphold, Quois Farnum Clark, Noah George, and Henry Wright. The first week will be in Beijing, where they will perform three Chinese plays—in Mandarin—during the opening weekend of the 5th China Children’s International Theatre Festival.  This challenging and exciting project is a three-way cooperation between MCT, CNTC and the University of Montana Confucius Institute.  These students study Mandarin with Chinese teachers in Missoula, through the Confucius Institute, and under the guidance of Suhan Chen.  They are working hard on memorizing their lines now; in mid-June, Mr. Yang Cheng (who was in Missoula in January 2015) will travel to Missoula to stage the scenes, work on character and serve as the show’s director. In early July, Joseph Martinez (MCT Artistic Director) and Matt Loehrke (MCT Education Director) will accompany the students to Beijing for the final rehearsals before the performances at the festival.  Once those conclude, the group will continue to travel in other parts of China with the Confucius Institute staff.

The costs associated with the trip are approximately $2000.00 per student, which includes airfare, visas, insurance and other costs.  The Missoula Rotary Noon Club made a generous donation of $1,300.00 to help defray expenses and the students are fundraising to help with the rest. Please consider helping these wonderful young Missoulians gain the experience of a lifetime.  The media is invited to the Saturday, May 21st rehearsal at MCT from 1-4pm) to conduct interviews and observe the progress.  Learn more here.