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Gavin Slusher, left, and Sadie Slusher perform in “The Jungle Book.” (Courtesy Photo)

Gavin Slusher, left, and Sadie Slusher perform in “The Jungle Book.” (Courtesy Photo)

Most Artesians are familiar with the annual Missoula Children’s Theatre visits — they’ve been a summer fixture in Artesia for many years now, thanks to the Artesia Arts Council.

Many residents have children that have been involved in Missoula’s programs, whether as performers/crew members or just in the audience to cheer on a friend.

And occasionally, participation in the local Missoula program leads to bigger opportunities.

This has happened for Artesia teen performers Gavin Slusher, 13, and Sadie Slusher, 16. They’ve been involved in theatre productions for the past five years, but it was only after moving to Artesia that they had the opportunity to perform in a Missoula Children’s Theatre production.

The Artesia Arts Council hosts the Missoula Children’s Theatre for a week each summer for an intensive six­day experience in which local kids are able to work with professional actors and directors to put on a theatrical show from casting to the final performance.

Gavin and Sadie were cast in the Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “The Jungle Book” as Mowgli (Sadie)

and Shere Khan (Gavin). At the conclusion of Missoula’s time in Artesia, Gavin and Sadie were invited to audition for the 2017 Missoula Children’s Theatre Performing Arts Camps — a rare opportunity that is offered to young performers considered to have professional potential.

Audition videos include both a monologue and a song­and­dance routine, something both teens are very familiar with. Another benefit of appearing in “The Jungle Book” has been Gavin and Sadie’s loyal young fan base — kids recognize them from their performances regularly and are quick to run up to them with big hugs.

Gavin and Sadie will submit their auditions for the Missoula Children’s Theatre Performing Arts Camp in the spring of 2017, so stay tuned for the next installment of Gavin and Sadie’s success story!