Theater troupe returning to Marshall; to offer leadership training and play highlighting literacy

Friday, September 24, 2004

The St. Louis-based Metro Theater Company is returning to Marshall for five days of performances, education programs and community activities, Sunday, Sept. 26, through Thursday, Sept. 30.

Photo contributed Artists with the Metro Theater Company will be performing the play "Salt and Pepper" during a five-day residency in Marshall next week.

Underwritten by the Monstanto Fund, National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council, actors with the touring theater company last visited the Marshall area in April 2001 for a three-day residency.

During this year's visit, the Metro Theater Company will concentrate on a in-depth leadership training course with a select group of 50 students from Bueker Middle School in Marshall and area schools. The company's schedule includes three school-day shows at BMS for students in fourth through sixth grades and one public performance, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28. An informal discussion with the artists will follow the public performance.

The Metro Theater Company's agenda for the upcoming week includes visits to Butterfield Youth Services, the Waverly Regional Youth Center, The Living Center assisted living center and an informal gathering with the Missouri Community Theater.

Durings its visit the Metro Theater Company will be performing its newest production, "Salt and Pepper," by California playwright Josť Cruz Gonzalez under the direction of Carol North, artistic director for Metro Theater. North said the play was first presented as part of the 2000 NewVisions/NewVoices program at Kennedy Center. North summerized the play as exploring family, friendship and literacy. The grandfather of one of the title characters, Salt, cannot read or write but is ashamed to tell anyone. His resulting silence has dire consequences for the rest of the family. Salt cannot read well, but his new friend, Pepper, reads voraciously. Salt and Pepper eventually discover secrets of the past in a box of old postcards.

"We are tremendously excited to be able to share our productions with the young people of Marshall and, thanks to Monsanto, be given the luxury to return for five days," said North. "We hope that the wonderful play we're presenting and all the activities we'll be offering the Marshall area will make this an unforgettable residency."

"The Monsanto soybean production site in Marshall is delighted to continue our residency relationship with Metro Theater Company," said Ray Drachenberg, Monsanto/Mar-shall site manager. "This year will be even richer than 2001 and will offer many diverse experiences in our schools. It is great to be able to host this company of artist/educators for our area students for an entire week. The schools here in Marshall and neighboring communities, having benefited from Metro's presence here over four years ago, have welcomed the idea of allowing a special group of students to spend an extended time with Metro's education team. We are grateful to the Monsanto Fund for making this residency possible in our community."

Vickie Wise, principal for Hardeman R-10 School, a K-8 district in Saline County, added, "We welcome back Metro Theater Company, this time for a week. I am particularly enthusiastic about Metro's leadership trianing for some of our middle school students. This cultural enrichment is going to create rewarding experiences for the entire area."

Planning partners for Metro Theater Company's visit to Marshall include Susan R. Pointer, administrative specialist with Monsanto; Drachenberg; Michelle Benner of Mid-Missouri Fine Arts Council; BMS counselor Lyle Pointer; Pam Deutsch, of the Marshall Community Theater; Bob Stewart, public relations coordinator for Fitzgibbon Hospital; Carol Griffen, teacher; Deb Fisher, teacher, Virginia Huston of Community Bank; Andrew Wells; Jeanette Klinge, Marshall business owner; and Wise.

Contact Mark Lile at

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