Dress rehearsal for 'Alice In Wonderland'

Participants in the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s weeklong fall residency at The Historic Ritz Theatre in Talladega held a dress rehearsal for their production of “Alice In Wonderland” on Friday. Shown above are Dylan Parker (Mad Hatter), Carolyn Humphrey (Queen of Hearts), Kaitlin Smith (Alice), Jesse Adams (Humpty Dumpty) and Skyler McKinney (Rose).

HEFLIN — Making its annual trip to the deep South, the Missoula Children’s Theater will return to Heflin next week to hold auditions for “Robin Hood” on Monday at the Heflin Armory beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The Heflin Cultural Arts and Heritage Council is bringing the traveling children’s company from Montana for the eighth year, according to Shane Smith, who handles the theater program for the council.

“We will audition the children — there are roles for 60-70 kids — the kids will begin rehearsal immediately after they’re cast, they will rehearse every day until Friday and then Friday they will perform the show,” Smith said.

Smith said the debut performance will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, with another on Saturday at 1 p.m.

According to information from the theater, this legendary tale from a legendary time gets a whimsical remake in an adaptation that still features Maid Marian, merry men, Prince John and his bungling sheriff.

“It’s a fun experience. The kids get to perform, they don’t get a lot of this in schools nowadays so this is an opportunity for the children to get to perform — it’s something the arts council is proud to bring to Heflin every year,” Smith said.

Smith said the kids get a sense of accomplishment and unlike athletes, they have only one week to put the production together.  

“You see a sense of pride when they finish it ... I always have kids that will see me at the grocery store and they’ll ask me ‘When’s the next Missoula coming?’” Smith said.

Smith said the only requirement for auditions is to be a K-12 student from Cleburne County, including homeschooled kids.

“I think it’s a good learning experience for them, because they have to memorize lines, they have to work together as a group, the older ones have to help the smaller ones and they do a really good job,” Smith said.

Smith said the directors are from out of town, have a method of working with children and have a “lot of patience.”

It costs $4,000 to bring the theater company to Heflin, according to Smith. Commercial sponsors such as Taylor Corporation and ticket sales cover that cost.

Smith hopes the annual theater experience for children will continue well into the future.

“It’s a good thing for the kids. I think it builds their self-confidence,” Smith said.

Tickets will cost $5 for students K-12 and $10 for adults.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.