Arts and Entertainment

Missoula Children's Theatre tour brings Federal Way woman back home

Shawna Smith, pictured with Danielle Papet, at a recent rehearsal. - Courtesy of Holly Rose
Shawna Smith, pictured with Danielle Papet, at a recent rehearsal.
— image credit: Courtesy of Holly Rose

By Holly Rose, Knutzen Family Theatre

Shawna Smith, born and raised in Federal Way, is back home again this week with the Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT) tour of "Hansel and Gretel" at the Knutzen Family Theatre. She lived in Federal Way for 18 years and attended Federal Way High School.

Lois Gorne, Smith’s drama teacher, inspired her to go into theater. Gorne also taught speech and debate in which Smith went to nationals. After high school, Smith attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and graduated with a BFA in theater.

Smith’s love of working with kids is what originally drew her to MCT. A favorite memory is from a production of "Bunnicula" at Seattle Children’s Theatre, where a bunny was hiding behind a dog and the kids in the audience were shouting out to the actors where the bunny was.

“The kids were so amazed by what was happening on stage. They really wanted to believe that it was real,” Smith said.

In explaining her passion about teaching theater to children, Smith said: “I’ve never been so amazed in my entire life about children’s ability to learn. They want to succeed so much and are hard working and dedicated. One of the many joys of doing children’s theater is the ability to boost kids’ self-esteem and confidence in themselves.”

About performing with MCT, Smith said: “This is a really cool first job out of college.”

Prior to working with MCT, Smith had only traveled in the Great Northwest. Now, thanks to the show tours, she has visited 34 states. When her touring days are done, she would like to move to California to pursue a career in film and television.

“Whatever happens, I want to always be involved in theater. I love it,” she said.

Don't miss

"Hansel and Gretel" will be performed at 7 p.m. April 3-4 at Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road. For tickets and more information, visit www.kftevents.com or call (253) 835-2020.

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