Learning By Doing

Learning By Doing

Kids help create ‘Ninjas: The Musical’


Pilot Arts Theatre founder and executive director Missy Gipson is no stranger to kids’ musicals: Gipson also serves as executive director for Fort Smith’s oldest children’s theater, the Young Actors Guild. In that capacity, she chooses and directs both musical and non-musical shows every season.

But she had never come across a musical about ninjas.

“And as a parent, I have two elementary school kids, and I rent a lot of kids’ musicals,” she says. “I got to this point where I thought a lot of them were the same. I wanted to do something that my son would be really interested in.

“From there, I started thinking of topics, and all of a sudden I thought, ‘Ninjas! They’re funny!’ So I started talking to my kids about it, and they said, ‘Yeah! This would be great.’ So it was kind of born out of this idea of having a musical based on something other than princesses. Not that those are bad; they have their place. But we thought, ‘Let’s give a try at something different.’”

And out of that burst of inspiration, “Ninjas: The Musical” was born. Gipson has been working with nine kids who have been meeting twice a week for two months to workshop the show.

“We’re giving these kids the opportunity to see what they are inspired to add or what they think would make the story more interesting,” says Gipson. “Yesterday, for example, they had so many jokes they put in. It’s not just me creating it. We’re saying to them, ‘You have really good ideas! Let’s use those!’ It’s helping them learn discernment and how to do comedy.”

Her cast of nine, says Gipson, is more than up to the challenge.

“This process forces them to do things that are scary and hard, and when they come out at the end, doing it, there’s nothing that like that feeling,” she says. “The best thing theater does is plant a seed of confidence. They learn they can be brave. They can do things they have never done before.”



‘Ninjas: The Musical’

WHEN — 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and 2 p.m. Feb. 23

WHERE — Drake Field Airport, 4500 S. School Ave., Fayetteville

COST — $6

INFO — 879-1034

Categories: Family Friendly