A Swashbuckling Good Time

Missoula Children’s Theatre presents ‘Blackbeard the Pirate’ with Rim Country cast

Local talent was used as the cast and crew in the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Blackbeard the Pirate.”

Photo by Michele Nelson. |

Local talent was used as the cast and crew in the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “Blackbeard the Pirate.”


To purchase images of this play and rehearsal click here Black Beard

Matthew, 6, and his sister Sierra, 8, came to see “Blackbeard the Pirate” on Friday and Saturday to watch their big brother, Steven Martinez, play Bluebeard, a crew-member on Blackbeard’s ship.

“I liked it when he clapped his feet together and did this,” said Matthew spinning around and dropping down to touch the ground in a hip-hop dance move.

Sierra said Steven dances like that at home, but plays with his yo-yo more often. Steven’s dad, Ron, glowed with pride from his son’s performance, as he agreed with his daughter.


The plucky parrots played by elementary school students stole the show.

Steven is a junior at Payson High School (PHS) and a founding member of Team Ex-Yo the yo-yoing group around town.

Steven enjoys drama, along with his other yo-yo buddies Cody Rislund and Ryan Ayers who portrayed pirates next to Steven.

Ayers played Blackbeard and Rislund Graybeard in the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) production that portrayed the consequences of messing with pirate treasure.

The two directors from MCT, Adam Ward and Joe Godburn, cast 55 children as characters in the play, found four student assistant directors and hired three PHS tech department students to pull off the musical in a week.

“These students auditioned on Monday and performed by Friday,” said Ward at the end of the production.

Kathy Siler, head of the PHS drama department, said Ward had only praise for the Payson theatre department.

“Adam said they don’t always come to a community with a theatre and program like ours,” she said.

Siler said Ward told her that in comparison, when he went to Germany, the school had no arts program. He had to start from scratch to teach the technical support and directors how to do their job. In Payson, Siler has a program to prepare theatre tech students to work professionally.

“Adam said it was such a joy to work with the theatre department,” said Siler. She said in other schools, the students sometimes try to direct the production instead of understanding they work for the director.

“What impressed him most is that they were Johnny-On-The-Spot with help,” said Siler.


The seaweed characters, played by Jamie Peet, Xing and Zoia Brouwer, Liberty Fain, and Emma Helmick added some oga booga to the show.

The spirit of professionalism permeated the production. Not a microphone sputtered, not a note faltered and any lines forgotten were easily glossed over by the strong lead of Godburn, who acted in every scene.

That is the key to MCT. At all times on stage, one of the directors plays has a role. Since some of the students are a scant five years old, having a familiar adult on stage eases stage fright. If an actor forgets his lines, the MCT staff member smoothly covers up the mishap. It makes for a strong show, while giving the students a safety net.

Godburn played Jolly Roger, a mysterious man beach bums always saw at the beach. Roger knew tales of all the creatures, from the mermaids to the parrots, the quarreling crocodiles to the crabs that protect the pirate booty. Roger even had a relationship with the huge, talking clam.

In a twist, Roger, (Godburn), admitted to the beach bums, played by Daniel Walling, Freedom Gray, Brad Guyton, Savannah Casey, Rachel Wright, and Carli Carpenter, that he had drunk the water from the treasure. Only later did he discover it was from the Fountain of Youth, whereupon he revealed he was 300 years old.

The play engaged the audience with rousing songs and adorable choreography. One of the cutest songs had the parrots ‘shaking their tail feathers.’

Clearly Sierra and Matthew enjoyed the show so much, they had to watch it twice.

“It was really good,” said Sierra.


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