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Butte children's theater grieving the loss of boy and fellow member who died in skiing accident

Posted at 12:45 PM, Feb 28, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 14:45:27-05

BUTTE — As a Butte family is grieving the loss of their child killed in a recent skiing accident, another family is in mourning. The young artists and performers of the Orphan Girl Children’s Theatre, of which the victim was a member, are also grieving this loss, and the bond of this group is as tight as any family.

“The kids spend a lot of time together and sometimes a lot of downtime together where they really get to know each other, and they build really tight bonds and they build those bonds really quickly,” said OGCT Executive Artistic Director Elizabeth Crase.

Many in the theater knew the young performer who died in a skiing accident at Discovery Ski Area the morning of Feb. 24. The theatre was doing a performance that evening when the tragic news came to Elizabeth Crase, who did her best to keep it from the performers.

“We wanted to protect the kids as long as we could, because they’re vulnerable, they’re in front of an audience and that’s a really tough place to be when you’re dealing with something super personal and painful,” said Crase.

They postponed the performance the following day. The children responded by making a memorial outside the front door of the theater. Some stayed at the theater to grieve and share stories, tears, and hugs.

“They’re so loved, so loved. I think that they know that, I think they’re aware of that here in the space that they’re very loved. And when we have something challenging to get through, we get through it together,” she said.

As executive artistic director of the theater, Crase has had to remain strong for the kids. Though it isn’t easy.

“Absolutely, I’m feeling it. It’s probably easy for me to channel that emotion into the other kids that are here and give them those hugs that I wish I could give to the young artist that we lost,” said Crase.

The theater plans to make up its Sunday performance of "Twelfth Night" on Thursday at 6 p.m. and will continue their Friday through Sunday performances in honor of their fallen member.