Beach creatures joined pirates and mermaids on the Gretna High School stage over the weekend for a performance by local children.

After rehearsing for only a week, 63 Gretna youth took the stage to sing and dance in a production of “Blackbeard the Pirate,” put on through a Missoula Children’s Theatre week-long summer workshop.

The summer production program returned to the Gretna community last week, inviting students from throughout the area to try out and rehearse.

After less than a week of rehearsal, the production took the stage on Friday and Saturday.

“Missoula, as a whole, likes to take some classic tales and put a little twist on them so they’re different,” said Lindsey Wayne of Missoula Children’s Theatre.

This year’s mysterious adventure includes beach creatures, pirates and beach bums searching for treasure for a fun production. The story also includes important lessons like “Slip! Slop! Slap!,” related to a health campaign aimed at preventing skin cancer and sun damage, and the moral that “true treasure isn’t found in a box.”

Open to children entering first through 12th grades, the program seeks to teach more than acting skills.

“The mission is personal development through the performing arts,” said Sarah Price of Missoula Children’s Theatre. “Confidence is a big thing we hope they take away.”

Commitment and self expression are other goals Missoula’s members hope to foster among participants.

“Being confident enough to get up there and get silly, even with all these people around, and to know it’s okay — you don’t have to be perfect,” Price said.

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