Prior to 2004, students in rural Southern Columbia County (OR) had limited reach into local theater groups that focused on adults. There was a clear need and demand for theater exposure for students throughout the year. Myself and colleague Heather Bishop identified this need and set out to share our talents of acting and music with students in our small, rural town. River City Children’s Theater (RCCT) was born out of this desire.
RCCT’s goal is to provide quality theatrical training and performance opportunities at an affordable cost. We also desire to create a safe environment where children can learn about themselves and build relationships with others. We make it a point to open our doors to students with learning and behavorial disabilities. Scholarships are offered to allow students from low-income families to participate.
RCCT also strives to train up high school students in leadership positions. River City Children’s Theater is sponsored by the St. Helens High School Drama Department and hires high school students to serve as assistants and student guides.
We accomplish these goals through a variety of workshops during the school year as well as summer theater camps which produce full musicals in one week’s time. These musicals are unique in that the founding directors write and compose the shows. In the past years, RCCT has performed such hits as Rapunzel, Peter Pan, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp and, most recently, The Secret Garden. These summer theater experiences allow about two hundred students in grades one through eight to perform onstage each summer. RCCT also added a technical track in recent years for students interested the backstage workings of the theater. The interaction and accomplishments of students of all ages create a vital sense of community. The performances have become anticipated cultural events in Columbia County, Oregon.
River City Children's Theater hopes to continue raising up excellent students both onstage and off.