Winner Actors Find Their Niche in “Treasure Hunt”

By Dan Bechtold, Editor

Two college graduates who have a passion for theatre directed a children’s production in Winner.

Kevin Earlywine and Tyler Folkedahl are members of the Dakota Players which is an outreach of the Black Hills Playhouse.

Thirty-six students on Saturday delighted an audience with their presentation of “Treasure Hunt.”

Earlywine and Folkedahl spent a week in Winner working with the cast.

Tyler has been with Dakota Players since 2012 and Tyler is new the organization, having been a member for only two months. In “Treasure Hunt” each of the directors plays three parts.

Tyler plays pops who is a quirky janitor working at the Fun Factory. He also plays an owl and a polar bear.

Kevin plays a grumpy old man who owns the fun factory plus he plays Big Foot and a camel.

The set and costumes for the play are provided by the Dakota Players.

The kids in Winner have a desire to perform,” said Kevin. “They are hungry for performance.”

Tyler noted the most rewarding part of his job is going into a place where kids do not have a lot of opportunity to do theater and opening that door for them, giving them an outlet to perform and express themselves. It is gratifying to bring this into this community,” he said.

Kevin is from Rockford, Ill., and graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2011 with a degree in theater with a musical theater specialization.

This is his sixth tour with Dakota Players. He co-wrote the script for last year’s “The Superhero Show.”

Kevin released his first album of original songs called “Danger” and went on tour to support the album.

Tyler is from Grand Forks, N.D. and graduate from the University of North Dakota in May with a degree in musical theater performance. He has done some acting with Frostfire Theater is Wahalla, which is near the Canadian border.

His advisor at UND works at Black Hills Playhouse in the summer and encouraged Tyler to join Dakota Players.

Kevin explained a lot of places they go “we are the only theater they see in two to three years.”

Dakota Players also does three camps in the summer called Camp Bravo. One is near Watertown and the other two are in the Black Hills.

Kevin wrote the show for Camp Bravo and build it from the ground up.

Auditions are an important part of the week long summer experience for kids. Kevin says it is important that they find parts for everyone so they are all set up for success. “There is a place for everyone in our shows,” he said.

We find the place that we think the kids will really succeed.”

There are seven leads for older youths and they have a lot of speaking lines.

Tyler says rehearsals went well and the kids are super excited and ready to perform.

Tyler says he likes Dakota Players because he gets to explore South Dakota and bring theater to people who do not have access to it.

This is a great opportunity for young minds as it allows them to work on communication skills,” said Kevin. “I think people forget when they are on stage they are using a lot of different skills.”

From Winner, Dakota Players will travel to Wagner.

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