Photo by doug lonemanNew Bozeman children’s theater company plans improv shows

9/16/2020 Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Helena Dore

Children sitting in hula hoops giggled on a recent morning as a troupe of actors in Lindley Park performed wacky stories on the spot.

The approximately 50 children and parents who attended Saturday’s “Random Acts of Silliness in the Park” helped actors perform classic tales like “The story of the pirate and the hedgehog” and “The kid who stopped loving his cat.”

Children in the audience shouted suggestions at actors until Danielle Thomsen, founder of “Random Acts of Silliness” and self-proclaimed “CEO of Silly Business,” blew a whistle for stations to rotate.

“It’s all improvised,” Thomsen said. “We’re bringing kids’ ideas to life.”

Saturday’s show was the soft opening for Random Acts of Silliness, a new children’s theater company that’s helping children to laugh during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company grew out of Verge Theater’s improv program. Before it officially launched, actors practiced shows at socially distanced pop-up theaters.

“It’s something we really need in our community,” said Hannah Overton, a Gallatin Valley Land Trust coordinator. The land trust partnered with Thomsen to organize two outdoor improv shows and a self-guided fairy village experience this month.

“We’re going to keep doing this,” Overton said.

The second Random Acts of Silliness show is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., in Dino Park. Masks are required for anyone above five.

GVLT and Random Acts of Silliness are also helping to put on a fairy village experience from Sept. 22 to Oct. 5.

Thomsen said 10 local artists are designing and hiding fairy houses along the Gallagator Trail for kids to find. Families will be able to download a map of the village from a website that graphic designers are working on, she said.

Thomsen hopes kids will want to make their own fairy houses.

“It’s been such a hard time for everybody,” Thomsen said. “It’s a way to bring magic and fun and delight into peoples’ lives.”

“It was silly. It was fun. And I haven’t been laughing lately,” said Mariah Rundberg, a friend of Thomsen’s who attended Saturday’s show. “It’s good to have lighthearted fun.”

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