Local youth step to the stage for another summer

The Vermin (on the left), including Elizabeth Gust as the Badger, Julia Dostal as the Weasel, and Alec Beito (sitting) as the Ferret strike their poses on one side, while the Cat, played by Evie Janousek, and the Fox, played by PFCT Director and Actress Kailah Gordon, strike their own poses on the other side. (photo by Mara Gust)

Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre (PFCT) touring director and actress Kailah Gordon didn’t have the theatrical opportunity she now provides to youth.

“It’s really important to keep arts alive and to have that outlet option for children… To see the effect, the positive effect it has on children, really solidifies the fact that this (PFCT program) is important.” Gordon said. “And bringing it to them at this age, it’s such a crucial age where they’re figuring out what they do want to do when they get older and this helps them see if this is something they want to do or even just helps them get more confidence to be able to go on later in life and do whatever it is they choose to do.” 

A total of 24 local youth received this opportunity to grow, learn, and have fun through this year’s PFCT and Greenbush Area Friends of the Library presentation of the show Pinocchio, featuring both original music and music by the Beach Boys. Youth performed this show twice, at 2 pm and 6 pm on June 30, on the Greenbush-Middle River High School stage in Greenbush. 

PFCT actors and directors Gordon and Bryan Farthing led the youth in this production. Gordon has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre Performance and Farthing has a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Also performing in the show, Gordon played the Fox, and Farthing Gepetto/Tempesto.

Greenbush represented the directors-actors’ fifth stop in 12 total leading the same show. Asked what they enjoy most about working with these youth, both directors emphasized witnessing the progress the youth make in such a short period of time.

“They come in kind of intimidated on that first day, like ‘is this really going to be possible,’” Gordon said. “And then by the end of the week then they’ve pulled out this entire full-length musical and they feel so confident in themselves.”  

Bryan added, “I think it’s fun coming into a lot of these towns where these kids don’t really get a whole lot of exposure to the arts and to theatre and you can tell that when they come in. They really have no idea what to expect.”

On the show’s paper program, it acknowledged various organizations and people, including the Northwest Regional Library and the Greenbush Community Grant for providing the funds for the show, the parents for bringing their children to participate, and the directors for leading the way.

For more info on Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre, one can contact the organization by mail at Box 82, Barrett, MN, 56311, or by phone at (320)-528-2596, or visit it online at prairiefirechildrenstheatre.com.

To see the complete story, read July 5 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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