youth theater

Meet Mia, our Moppet of the Month!

Sixth-grade homeschooler Mia Saidi has been a Moppet since last summer, when she played King Edward IV and Prince Edward V in “Richard III.” Her favorite role with the Moppets was in “Tartuffe” earlier this year. 

Dorine “was a really fun character,” Mia says, “because she was a little bit sassy and a little bit sarcastic but very loving. Like me!”

Mia would love to have a role in a big Broadway production someday. She especially likes “Hamilton” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”

When she’s not on stage, Mia likes to read, make art and play the piano. She also likes to hang out with her friends and play with her cat. And sometimes you can find her hiding under a pile of blankets in her room!

Mia most recently appeared on the Moppets stage as Bedford and Lord Constable in “Henry V.”

The Moppets present “The Tempest”

The Moppets bring "pure joy" to the stage with their 2022 production of "The Tempest"

Our young actors put on three fun, family-friendly performances for the crowds at Hazel Robinson Amphitheater last weekend as they opened our 2022 summer season with “The Tempest”!

(Thanks for helping us dodge those thunderstorms, Prospero! Sometimes it’s really helpful to have a wizard with weather-manipulating powers on hand.)

The Moppets “bring ‘The Tempest’ to life in a fun and original production that highlights both the comedy of the work as well as its magic and meaning,” said one Moppets fan. “The dedication of these young people, as well as a love of what they are doing, is apparent in every moment. It is pure joy to watch!”

“The Moppets have impressed me again with their talent and their ability to capture the audience,” another audience member said. “The performers have great comedic timing. ‘The Tempest’ is a show not to be missed!”

Didn’t make it to opening weekend? Don’t worry: You still have three more chances to see the show! 

We’ll be back on the stage at Hazel Robinson Amphitheater on Friday at 5pm and Saturday at 11am and 5pm. (That’s right! It’s a Moppets double-header!) 

Click here to RSVP!

Watching our Moppets on Other Stages

Watching our Moppets on other stages

Two Princes!

Eli Hamilton and Kai Strange star in Montford Park Players production of "The Little Prince"

We were thrilled to learn that Moppets alum Kai Strange and senior Moppet Eli Hamilton have been cast as The Little Prince in The Montford Park Players’ upcoming production of “The Little Prince.”

Eli and Kai will each play the title role at different performances, so you should probably plan to go a few times so you can see them both. That’s what we’ll be doing!

Congratulations, guys! We are so proud of you, and we can’t wait to see the show!

“The Little Prince” is a classic French tale of loneliness, love, loss and interplanetary travel. It opens Friday at Hazel Robinson Amphitheater. 

Of Moppets and "Monsters"

Fresh off his titular role in our “Tartuffe,” Aidan Short is now appearing as Pup in the Different Strokes production of Christian St. Croix’s “Monsters of the American Cinema.”

“This fast-paced, and engaging two-hander about a unique father/son relationship challenges the idea of family, and the responsibility of being in a relationship, of any kind, with other people” director Stephanie Hickling Beckman told the New Play Exchange. “It brings up human nature and its ever-present need for connection and acceptance in a world that neither understands us or makes room for our differences.” 

“Monsters” opens June 16 at Tina McGuire Theater in Asheville.

"Practically perfect" in Brevard

Gabe Rood (right) stars in Brevard High School's "Mary Poppins."

Gabe Rood took the stage last month as Robertson Aye in Brevard High School’s production of “Mary Poppins.” In addition to a performance described by one audience member as “My favorite part of the show,” Gabe helped design the very impressive set.

Great job, Gabe!

Asheville Area Arts Council funding helps support Moppets after-school program

Asheville Area Arts Council logoWe are delighted to announce that Moppets has been awarded a $1,500 Arts Build Community Grant from the Asheville Area Arts Council in support of our new after-school programming at the Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Center!

Taught by Artistic Director Ashleigh Goff and veteran Moppet Eli Hamilton, the class is our first-ever partnership with the City of Asheville. Students in the after-school program are learning basic theater skills and building their self-confidence in a fun and welcoming environment. The program will culminate in a showcase performance for the students’ peers and families.

“One of our overarching goals is to introduce more kids to classical theater, wherever they are,” Moppets Executive Director Rachel Cort said. “This funding helps us to take a big step toward that goal. We are incredibly grateful to the Asheville Area Arts Council for supporting the Moppets and aspiring young actors in our community.”

Introducing our Tartuffe

We are thrilled to announce that the titular character in the Montford Moppets production of “Tartuffe” will be played by Aidan Short! 

Aidan became a Moppet in 2019, when he played Bob Crachit and Mr. Fezziwig in our production of “A Christmas Carol.” He’s been on stage for much longer than that, though. His first stage appearance was as Tiny Tim in The Montford Park Players’ “A Christmas Carol” in 2012!

Aidan tells us that his favorite Moppets moment was playing “everyone but Scrooge” in 2021’s “The Moppets Present: A (slightly chaotic) Christmas Carol,” with his role as the Fool in “King Lear” coming in a close second. He’d like to play Mercutio in a future Moppets production of “Romeo & Juliet,” and as we do occasionally cast Aidan in non-Dickens roles that could very well happen.

Aidan is a high school freshman and a founding member of the Moppets musical duo Brick and A Stick, which seems natural for a guy whose off-stage hobbies include collecting “cool-looking sticks” and having fun with his friends.

You can catch Aidan on stage March 24-26 in Asheville High School’s “Quixotica” and on April 15 and 16 in the Moppets’ “Tartuffe.”

The Moppets bring “Tartuffe” to Asheville

Bonjour, les amis des Moppets!

Our artistic director has never shied away from challenging our Moppets to bring a little something new to the Asheville theater scene, and our Moppets have never blinked an eye at what she’s thrown their way (time-traveling Scrooges, 10-minute “Richard III”s and flip-flops included).

So we were not at all surprised when Ashleigh came to our season planning meeting armed with a heavily-highlighted copy of Molière’s “Tartuffe.“

OK, maybe we were a little bit surprised.

Once we got past our initial shock, though (a non-Shakespeare title? How now, Ashleigh!) we realized that this 17th Century French satire would be perfect for our first show of the 2022 season. “Tartuffe” has everything the Moppets love: a little romance, a little laughter, and a good bit of back-stabbing.

Not actual stabbing, though, to our Moppets’ dismay. It’s a youth theater company. The kids love a good stabbing.

But they’ll just have to wait for “Julius Caesar” for that!

Who? What? Wherefore?

You may be wondering why The Montford Moppets Youth Shakespeare Company is kicking off the 2022 season with Molière, who is certainly an excellent and well-respected playwright but is not our namesake.*** We wondered the same thing, so we asked our artistic director.

“I feel like our troupe is ready to tackle classics beyond Shakespeare, and ‘Tartuffe’ is a great classic farce,” Ashleigh said. “It’s a great opportunity to work on comedic timing in a genuine ensemble show.”

Considered one of the greatest French writers ever, Molière wrote comedies and satire in the mid-1600s, sometimes under the patronage of Louis XIV. His play “Tartuffe, or the Imposter, or the Hypocrite” is the story of a sanctimonious scoundrel’s machinations in the household of a wealthy Parisian and how the con man is eventually unmasked. It’s a comedy about religious hypocrisy, gullibility and obsession — all themes that are still relevant today!

Fun fact: “Tartuffe” was banned in its first two iterations at the behest of the Catholic Church and was only allowed to be published after Molière changed the ending to flatter the king! (That’s why it has so many names!)

“Tartuffe” is witty, biting and pretty racy. So racy, in fact, that we’ve edited it a bit for content. This is a youth theater, after all.

A Moppets Moment to celebrate

congratulations, helena!

While most of our Moppets live in Western North Carolina, some of them have a longer commute. Helena first joined us for our digital production of “Romeo & Juliet,” and last summer she traveled all the way from Maryland to be in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”! Since then, she’s been hard at work preparing her application for her local arts high school. And she just let us know that she was accepted!

We’re so proud of you, Helena!


Is your Moppet out there achieving great things? We’d love to spread the news! Let us know at TheMontfordMoppets@gmail.com.

Meet Eli, our Moppet of the Month!

High school junior Elias Atwood is our longest-tenured Moppet and our current Moppets intern. Eli first appeared on the Moppets stage as Peter in “Romeo & Juliet.” Last season, Eli was our malformed malevolent titular supervillain in “Richard III” and half of Scrooge in “The Moppets Present: A slightly chaotic Christmas Carol.”


(Yes, we said “half.” You had to be there.)

Eli’s most recent off-Moppets projects include a starring role in director Missy Bell’s film “The Library at the End of the Universe” and working on the tech crew on “Algorithms and Blues” at The Magnetic Theater.