Press Release: Stage Set for Statewide Theatre Festival
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stage is Set for Statewide Theatre Festival
Starkville, MS (December 18, 2012) – How fitting that Columbus, birthplace of Tennessee Williams, will soon be home to some of the State’s best and brightest theatrical talent when it welcomes the Mississippi Theatre Association for its annual State Theatre Festival January 17 – 20, 2013. Mississippi University for Women’s Department of Theatre, Columbus Visitor & Convention Bureau, Joe Cook Elementary School, and the Columbus Arts Council, will help stage more than a dozen productions from high school and community theatres from across the State.
In early December, the regional high school drama festivals were held in Starkville, MS and Hattiesburg, MS with nine schools advancing from the North and South regional festivals. Representing the northern region will be Starkville High School with their production of “The Insanity of Mary Girard,” Oxford High School performing “The Outsiders,” Corinth High School performing “Slasrever Neves,” and Union County Schools performing “South Pacific”. Schools representing the southern region include Oak Grove High School with their production of “In the Grove,” Ocean Springs High School performing “A Love for Three Oranges,” Picayune High School performing “Elephant’s Graveyard,” and Hancock High School performing “Seussical Jr.”.
Six community theatres from across the state will compete with a variety of shows hoping to advance to the Southeastern Theatre Conference held in March in Louisville, KY. Participating this year: Just Over the Rainbow Theatre with “Altar Boyz”; Company of Angels (Meridian, MS) with “The Boys in Autumn”; WINGS (Gulfport, MS) with “Cyrano de Bergerac”; Tupelo Community Theatre with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and Starkville Community Theatre with their production of “Dinner with Friends”.
Tom Booth, Executive Director for Tupelo Community Theatre and the director of their production said “Since I first learned about MTA by participating as an actor at Greenville twenty years ago I always look forward to our January gathering. The opportunity to network and socialize with theatre friends from across our state has helped me to cement a vision for what is possible and to grow as an artist.” Booth added “What I like the most about the Festival is the sense of camaraderie that this state in particular has, the support it shows each production, regardless of the competition. That makes it all worthwhile, and shows a true understanding of the collaborative effort theatre requires.”
The Festival will kick off Thursday, January 17 with the College/University workshops, design exhibitions, and audition registrations. Friday, January 18, the Theatre for Youth Festival which features plays for and with young adults will be held at Joe Cook Elementary School and is free to the general public. The High School Festival will take place at the Whitfield Auditorium on the MUW Campus on the same day. On Saturday the Community Theatre Division will begin its competition also on the MUW campus in Whitfield Auditorium.
General admission for the productions costs $5 per block of productions, $15 for the day and $25 for the entire weekend of plays. The MTA Festival is open to the general public, and all are encouraged to come support these talented Mississippi performers.
Suzanne Allmon, MTA President, said “We are very excited to have MUW and Columbus host our Statewide Festival! She added, “It has been a pleasure working with Peppy Biddy, the MUW faculty and the various volunteers from throughout the community. They have really worked hard to make this a memorable festival!”
Friday evening, the group and the general public will have the opportunity to hear from Mississippi’s own Billy Brasfield better known as “Billy B”. Brasfield who grew up in Aberdeen is a world renowned make-up artist to the stars having done make-up for celebrities all over the world including Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez to name a few. His work can be seen on every high-profile red carpet including the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Tony’s and more. He is also passionate about restoring his hometown to its former glory. His restoration efforts include restoring several buildings and homes.Stephen Cunetto, Executive Director, said “We are very fortunate to have someone of Billy’s caliber and status to
attend our festival. He has been very gracious about attending and will serve as a wonderful role model and example for
the students attending the festival.” Brasfield will speak Friday evening in Whitfield Auditorium.
For more information on the festival, including a full schedule of the weekend’s events, please visit www.mta-online.org for more information. The Mississippi Theatre Association has been fortunate to bring theatre to the state of Mississippi for over fifty years, and is proud to be sponsored in part by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.