They roll into town with everything they need to create theater.

Missoula Children’s Theatre has come to Franklin with the script, sets, make-up and props to put on “Alice in Wonderland.”

The theater troupe now just needs your kid to complete the show.

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The Artcraft Theatre is hosting the Missoula Children’s Theatre this week. Auditions are today.

Directors from Missoula Children’s Theatre drive across the country in their red trucks bringing theater to the towns they visit.

In five days, they will teach 50 to 60 students how to put on a production.

Monday auditions are followed by Tuesday through Friday rehearsals. On Saturday, the show is set.

Bringing Missoula Children’s Theatre to the Artcraft is a way to make sure younger students in the area have access to enriching art opportunities in the summer, said Jaime Shilts, programming and events coordinator for the Artcraft.

“There is not really a lot of arts programming for children in Johnson County,” she said.

Parents and children have shown a lot of interest in the program, she said.

Two children from the Crisafulli family in Franklin have participated in the Missoula productions at the Artcraft, Susan Crisafulli said.

Having the event close by has been paramount to their participation, she said.

Crisafulli and her two children, Sofia, 9, and Jaden, 11, can bike to rehearsals from their Franklin home.

Driving to Greenwood or Indianapolis might preclude them from participating, said Crisafulli.

“They are getting to see and participate in the arts in their own community,” she said.

The speed that the children learn the show is extraordinary, Shilts and Crisafulli said.

Students have less than a week to learn their lines, songs, dances and where they are supposed to be on stage and when.

They have rehearsal daily and students who earn larger roles in “Alice in Wonderland” will be asked to rehearse almost immediately, Shilts said.

Part of why the process goes quickly is that the directors have everything they need to produce the show, she said. The directors travel the country doing the same show all summer, Shilts said.

They turn kids into performers, she said.

Shilts relishes watching students who were once shy performing for their friends and family by the end of the week.

“You think they have been doing it all their lives,” she said.

The speed that the students learn the show helps them realize that they can do other art, Jaden Crisafulli said.

“If you can do this in a week, then you can pretty much do any other play,” he said.

Students are able to work on their role immediately after auditions, which helps speed the process along, said Sofia Crisafulli.

“I think it is a good experience,” she said.

If you go

Auditions for “Alice in Wonderland.”

When: 10 a.m. today.

Where: Johnson County Museum of History, 135 N. Main St.

Cost: $50 fee for participants in the show. Limited scholarships are available.

“Alice in Wonderland”

When: 3 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin

Cost: Tickets range from between $5 to $7.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.