Missoula Children’s Theatre, WCAC present ‘Pied Piper’
In June of 1993, a little red pickup truck pulled up to the doors of the Boone National Guard Armory, and a creative era began.
Through a partnership between Watauga County Parks and Recreation and the Watauga County Arts Council, a group of around 35 children were introduced not only to the classic children’s tale, “The Pied Piper,” but also to the many wonders of the theatrical arts.
Karen Poteat (of Parks and Rec) and Cherry Johnson (of the WCAC) had shared their ideas, pooled their resources and worked as a team to find a way to bring the Missoula Children’s Theatre to Boone. And every year since then, the little red truck with its two actor-directors and a load of scripts, costumes, sets and more has made its way from far-away communities toward Boone.
And every year, 35 to 65 children spend a magical week learning lines, songs and dances. In one very short week, they inevitably progress from barely knowing the name of the production to putting on a polished performance “where the children are the stars.”
After only a few years, the demand grew so great that Poteat and Johnson decided there was a need for two separate camps. The WCAC expanded its camp concept to include even more artistic adventures, and whenever campers are not busy rehearsing the play, they are engaged in visual arts, music, creative movement and storytelling. The result is a fully artistic day for five days of the week, plus two performances at the end of the week.
“This year, after 21 years, the inevitable finally happened, and the Missoula Children’s Theatre sent us a production which we’d done before,” Johnson said. “‘The Pied Piper’ came back to Boone!”
At Watauga High School, there is yet another group of children learning the lines, songs and dances of “The Pied Piper.” Community members can see the results of their efforts Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, July 11 and 12.
This year’s campers are Madeline Barinowski, Mary Clare Blankenship-Brown, Ella Campbell, Sydney Collie, Caleb Costin, Thomas Cotton, Eden Curtiss, Gemma Curtiss, Aila Givins, Sarah Goode, Charly Greene, Rory Greene, Kassidy Hall, Enchancia Harmon, Oliver Johnston, Garrett Jordan, Olivia Jordan, Conner Joyce, Alice Knight, Payne Knight, Madison Mast, Sirena Roe, Kara Taylor, Amber Teboe, Cindy Teboe, Jaidyn Toomey, Isabelle Trew, Sophie Trew, Raffael Vasquez-Gutierrez, Isaiah Watson, Bailey Whitehead-Price, Jillian Yates, Emma Young-Fritchie and Lily Young-Fritchie.
The camp is being coordinated by Betsy Church and Dianne Hackworth. Teachers include Dacia Trethewey, Dianne Hackworth, Mary Anne Maier and Pat Lanno, assisted by Sierra Hicks, Alexis Watson and Megan Gottfried.
A variety of local businesses are making the camp much more possible with their support of the annual cast party, Johnson said, giving special thanks go to Appalachian/Brian Estates for its corporate sponsorship. Additional support is being provided by Grassroots Funds of the North Carolina Arts Council, Montana Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets will be available at the door and are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Performances are Friday, July 11, at 6 p.m. and Saturday, July 12, at 1 p.m. at Watauga High School. For more information, contact the Watauga County Arts Council at (828) 264-1789.