By MORIAH LOVATO
For the Daily Press
On June 10, a select group of Artesia’s youth, alongside the travelling directors of Missoula Children’s Theatre, performed an adapted rendition of “The Secret Garden” for the public.
The Artesia Arts Council hosted this event in the Ocotillo Performing Arts Center beginning Monday, June 5, when the children first arrived to read scripts and audition for roles.
“The Secret Garden,” originally a classic novel, was adapted by Michael McGill for the Missoula Children’s Theatre to use this year as they celebrate their 50th year of touring the country.
Spencer Hamilton and Julia Steudle, assigned to the Texas-Colorado-New Mexico region for this year’s tour, gave a remarkable review of Artesia’s cast.
Hamilton stated the “kids here are fabulous, smart and attentive.” Both Hamilton and Steudle were greatly impressed by how quickly the cast of students picked up their roles and were able to bring themselves into the characters and make the production their own. The directors attributed this success to a unique confidence on stage often lacking in such a young crowd.
Nineteen local students were selected to fulfill roles as small as talking animals and as large as the protagonist around whom the story revolves.
The cast included Adeline Swarengin as Mary Lennox; Maddie Price and Marquez Roberts as Martha and Dickon Sowerby; Emmaley Villar as Colin Craven; Deni Jensch as Archibald Craven; Harper Kimmons as Ayah, Bilge Rat and Captain; Mila Hernandez, Annabelle Joy, Indie Kimmons and Khodie Florez as Canadian Geese; Ezekiel Guell and Wilson Williams as Squirrels; Kinsey Stafford and Izabella Guell as Sheep; and Sutton Joy and Charlotte Conklin as Fireflies.