Parnell library theatre workshop encourages imagination, expression

Pirouetting pigs and dancing ducks aren’t sights one would normally expect to see on a Thursday afternoon at the library, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo this week during the children’s theatre workshop, which ends Friday July 23 with a performance of “The Sad Song of a Low-Down Fox.”

The third annual workshop is funded by the Parnell Memorial Library Foundation Board for children ages 7 to 11. This year, the workshop accepted 30 children who got to audition for roles and rehearse for two weeks to participate in a musical written and composed by Phil McEntee, a retired music teacher with 27 years of experience.

“I’m delighted the library board founded this summer program,” McEntee said as laughing children ran around him after Thursday’s dress rehearsal. “It nourishes imagination and encourages teamwork.”

McEntee got the idea for the script from a story book he often reads with his grandson Jack. McEntee and his wife modified ideas from the story, and, he said, “Everything just came together.”

Mary Jane Evans, arts chairman of the library board, said the workshop helped children learn to sing, dance and speak loudly.

She explained that the final performance, occurring Friday, July 23 at 7 p.m., will be admission-free to the public.

“The parents developed and bought each child’s costume and brought them here every day, so we aren’t going to charge admission,” Evans said.

She and McEntee enlisted the help of several volunteers, including Evans’ husband Rick, who helped design and paint sets.

“I just love working with the children,” she said.

The play centers around musical animals, including a crafty fox played by 12-year-old Thomas Frost. Frost is a three-year veteran of the theatre workshop, who keeps coming back because, “It’s so awesome!”