Auditions will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 7 at the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center in Chillicothe, for the Missoula Children's Theatre (MCT) performance of "Blackbeard the Pirate", a program of the Chillicothe Area Arts Council. Auditions are open for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Those auditioning should arrive at 4 p.m., and plan to stay for the full two hours, and are advised to bring a snack or sack "lunch" to eat between the audition and the rehearsal in case they need to stay.

"January 7th is the day many students will be returning to school after the holiday vacation. We want to encourage students and parents to mark their calendars and plan now for this special opportunity for students in our area," Julie Ashbrook, administrator for the Chillicothe Area Arts Council, said. "Students do not need to prepare ahead of time for the audition," Ashbrook said. "The kids just need to bring a smile and enthusiasm." There is no cost for participation.

The Missoula directors will select 50-60 local and area students for the show which will be presented on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Missoula Children's Theatre touring productions are complete with costumes, scenery, props and makeup. MCT Tour Actor/Directors will conduct rehearsals throughout the week from 4 to 8:30 each day with a 30 minute break for a snack or "sack lunch."

Assistant directors will also be cast to aid in rehearsals throughout the week and to take on essential backstage responsibilities. Those auditioning need to have a clear schedule for the week of Jan. 7-12, and if selected for the cast, be able to attend all rehearsals required for their role.

"Not all those who audition will be cast," Ashbrook said, "and parents need to be sure their children understand that. Parents can also explain to their children that trying out for something and working to achieve something are the first steps that all successful persons must take. Sometimes we get chosen, and sometimes someone else does, and that is just part of life. We all want our children not to be afraid to try," she said, "so we need to give them opportunities like this."

"Blackbeard the Pirate", starring local and area students, will be presented at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center in Chillicothe. Tickets will be sold at the door, $6 for adults and $3 for children. Children not yet in school will be admitted for free. Chillicothe Area Arts Council season ticket holders will be admitted with their season ticket.

The Missoula Children's Theater residency has been made possible with funding from the Roger A. Browning Foundation and from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. For more information, contact the Chillicothe Area Arts Council at or phone 660-646-1173.