FAIRMONT - Prairie Fire Children's Theatre of Barrett is known throughout the Midwest for its stage productions involving youngsters, but the tradition will be broken in Fairmont next week.
On Monday, two professional actors/directors from Prairie Fire will cast multigenerational roles for the Charles Dickens' holiday classic "A Christmas Carol" at Fairmont Opera House.
"It's the first one (production) where they include adults in the cast," said Kathi Peterson, Opera House director.
The two professionals, who will play the roles of Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present, will cast area residents in 40 roles during tryouts beginning at 5:15 p.m. Monday at the Opera House.
Tryouts will last two hours and participants must stay for the duration. People filling a few of the roles will need to stay for rehearsal after casting is complete.
"They're looking for adults and students, ages 7 and up," Peterson said. "There are speaking roles, non-speaking roles and singing parts."
Following a rigorous one-week rehearsal schedule, the cast will present "A Christmas Carol" at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 7. Practice will be held nightly for four hours and 15 minutes, beginning at 4 p.m. or 5:15 p.m., depending on the work schedules of adults in the cast.
"It's kind of amazing to think they can do it in a week," Peterson said. "They (Prairie Fire) have been given rave reviews."
She hopes the production will be an opportunity for families and individuals to work together in kicking off the holiday season.
"I like the idea of doing something for the holidays as a family, of a holiday play that involves the whole community," Peterson said.
The Children's Theatre Program of the Opera House had produced a holiday play in December for many years, but ceased that custom two years ago.
"It's such a busy time of year, but I kind of missed that tradition," Peterson said.
Grant funding, which helps finance many of the Opera House programs, was not available because of time constraints for applications, so play participants will have to pay a $25 fee when they are cast.
"We do have about 15 sponsorships for kids that need it," Peterson said. "We don't want to leave out kids that can't afford it."
There are no other costs to participants, she said. Prairie Fire provides the set pieces and costumes.
After paying the fee, the only thing cast members need to provide is their lunch, which will be eaten during a group break midway through rehearsals.
Application forms are available in the Opera House lobby, or people can just show up at the casting Monday night.
Volunteers also are needed to run lights and sound for the final three rehearsals and both performances.
Anyone with questions or to offer a sponsorship for a child should call the Opera House at (507) 238-4900.