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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.

Auditions announced for Columbia Children’s Theatre

[caption id="attachment_35099" align="alignright" width="300"] Columbia Children's Theatre production of Goodnight, Moon.[/caption] Columbia Children's Theatre (CCT), the Midlands' only professional theatre for families and young audiences, will hold auditions for its 2018/2019 season on Sunday, May 13 and Monday, May 14 from 6-8 p.m. each evening. Auditions will be held in CCT's new performance space at 3400 Forest Drive in Richland Mall, downstairs next to Barnes & Noble. CCT's 2018/2019 Mainstage Season includes: School House Rock Live!, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical, Peter Pan and Wendy, Stiles and Drewe's The Three Little Pigs and a brand new commedia, Pinocchio. We will also be casting a new touring production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and seeking replacements for our continuing touring production of Stone Soup: The Musical. All roles are paid on a per-performance basis.

Audition Requirements

Auditions will be drop-in style so you may come at any time during the two hour time slot. Please bring current head shot and resume. You must be 15 years old by Sept. 21 to audition. Please prepare 16-24 bars of a Broadway-type song. You may sing this a cappella or bring backing tracks on a phone cued to the correct beginning spot. We may ask you to vocalize with piano. We will do cold readings from next season's scripts. A monologue is not required but if you'd like to do one that is performance-ready please feel free. For questions, please contact CCT Artistic Director, Jerry Stevenson at jerry@columbiachildrenstheatre.com. Columbia Children's Theatre is a professional resident not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing quality live theatre experiences for families and young audiences, and is supported in part by the City of Forest Acres and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Columbia Children’s Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet offers modern twist for middle school and high school audiences

Columbia Children's Theatre received a South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Education Project grant to help support this production. Columbia Children's TheatreWhat happens when your star-crossed lovers carry cell phones, use iPads and sing 1960s love songs? You get Columbia Children's Theatre's Altered Visions Tour production of Romeo and Juliet, designed to appeal to middle school and high school students. Before launching its tour of schools in February, Columbia Children's Theatre (CCT) will present this innovative 60-minute version of Shakespeare's classic to the public on January 29, 30 and 31. USC professor and former Globe Theatre intern Cathy Brookshire has helmed this updated, contemporarily conceived production since October when CCT received an Arts Education Projects Grant from the South Carolina Art Commission. The production uses six professional actors taking on all the roles with a modern twist. Arguably Shakespeare's most famous play, Brookshire's Romeo and Juliet is designed to fit into a typical high school block period and is conceived in a modern, accessible fashion to help high school students more easily grasp the language. Says Brookshire, "it's what happens when we boil Shakespeare's most iconic plays down to their bare essentials: six actors in 35 roles!" The two casts include George Dinsmore, Harrison Ayer, Kate Chalfant, Georgie Harrington, Mary Miles, Cole McFaden, Taylor Diveley, Frances Farrar, Evelyn Clary, Marcus Moore and Andy Nyland. Each of the two casts will perform twice during the in-house launch January 29-31 and flow in and out during the upcoming tour. The show also features an original soundscape by Toni Moore. Teachers and educators who book the production will receive S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) focused, arts-infused lesson plans for non-arts teachers to incorporate into their curriculum using Romeo and Juliet as a launching pad. Schools interested in having the production at their school can contact CCT Artistic Director Jerry Stevenson at jerry@columbiachildrenstheatre.com or (803) 691-4548. Show times for the public kick-off are Friday, January 29 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, January 31 at 3:00 p.m. The special "sneak peek" admission rate for this production is $5 regular admission and $3 for active military and seniors with proper ID. Tickets may be purchased securely online at columbiachildrenstheatre.com.  South Carolina educators and arts administrators with proper ID will receive free admission to any of the performances. The production is recommended for ages 12 and up. All shows take place at Columbia Children's Theatre, 2nd level of Richland Mall, 3400 Forest Drive, Columbia, S.C. Columbia Children's Theatre is a professional resident not-for-profit theatre dedicated to providing quality live theatre experiences for families and young audiences and is supported in part by the City of Forest Acres, and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Via: Columbia Children's Theatre