Columbia Children’s Theatre names first executive director
Two additional staff added
Columbia Children’s Theatre (CCT) board of directors named Larry Hembree as the theatre’s first executive director.
Hembree (right), who has been on the leadership staff for several other local arts organizations including Nickelodeon Theatre, S.C. Arts Commission, Arts Center of Kershaw County, and Trustus Theatre, assumed his new responsibilities Oct. 1. Hembree oversees administrative staff, strategic planning, board engagement, development and community outreach. He previously served as the theatre’s development director since January 2017. The board has also created two other new positions, hiring Ginny Herring as director of finance and Sean Taylor as director of marketing.
“I am excited to help give our area’s youth a voice through their participation in the arts,” Hembree said. “Columbia Children’s Theatre has done a phenomenal job both producing a five-show season for youth and families by an adult professional theatre company (the only company of its kind in South Carolina) and, at the same time, creating opportunities to showcase youth in theatre productions.”
“This is an incredibly exciting time for CCT. This theatre plays a critically important part in the lives of so many young people and having someone with Larry’s stature as executive director will help CCT and its drive to give a voice to those young people through the arts,” CCT Board Chairmain Frank Braddock said.
Founded in 2005, CCT first operated out of the former Sara Nance School (now the Katheryn M. Bellfield Booker Washington Heights Cultural Arts Center), an arts incubator run by the City of Columbia. Initial programming included professional theatre for youth and families, touring shows across the city and providing residencies and workshops in schools and parks. In 2009, the theatre expanded programming to include classes for youth and added a five-production season of shows featuring youth. Co-founders Jerry Stevenson and Jim Litzinger serve as artistic and technical directors, respectively. CCT has grown to support four administrative and eight artistic staff positions along with many volunteers and other contracted employees.
CCT currently presents out of Richland Mall, next door to Barnes & Noble, in Forest Acres.
The next production, Oct. 18-20, is “Les Misérables: School Edition,” featuring over 60 teens from across the Midlands. For more information on the theatre, visit columbiachildrenstheatre.com.