Young actors and actresses in Columbia County now have a new outlet for their talent - the Young Artists Repertory Theater Co. Inc. (YART).
John Greene and his wife, Jan, Jim and Beth Borke and Carl and Pam Brown founded the theater company. Each couple is represented by a spotlight in the company's logo.
John Greene, the director, was formerly the youth theater director for The Augusta Players. He said he decided to form his own company that would put all of its emphasis into youth productions.
"With The Augusta Players, all the money earned from the youth productions would go into their big stage productions, so we would never have a re-occurring budget. It was always a scramble. So instead of having a red-headed stepchild, I thought let's have a youth theater and roll the money into the next production and get bigger and better. The youth theater for the Augusta Players is secondary, and this is primary for me."
Performances during the company's first year in operation have included The Diary of Anne Frank, Pollyanna and Dracula.
The company is now practicing at Augusta Preparatory Day School for its fourth production, Cheaper by the Dozen. There are 18 children in the cast and others volunteering backstage.
Cheaper by the Dozen is based on the true-life story of efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and their 12 children. The couple was famous for their work in time management, but when Mr. Gilbreth applies those same principles to his family, particularly his girls, comedy ensues, Greene said.
"It's going to be a real cute show that people will enjoy very much," he said. "There are a lot of comedic aspects to it with all the boyfriends coming through the house, dad's reaction to them and his interaction with his children."
Cheaper by the Dozen will be performed by Roy (back, l-r), Jade Hawk, Martin, Kate Moore, Erika Hummel, Fayelyn Bilodeau (seated, l-r), Stephanie Ahmadipour, Mark Brown, Brian Jones, Adrean Riba, Patrick Reagan (front, l-r) and George Anne Carden.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Brian Jones, 18, a Greenbrier High School senior, is playing the lead role of Frank Gilbreth.
"I've been acting since I was in fourth grade," he said. "It's a creative outlet for me. And it's fun getting to know different people."
Rhiannon Martin, 19, an Augusta State University student, is playing Anne, the oldest daughter in the Gilbreth family. Her new role is a chance to come out from behind the stage where she usually works.
"I'm a theater major, but I mostly like backstage stuff," she said. "This is the flip side to what I'm used to, the other end of it."
The next production planned this year is Pippi Longstocking. Greene said his ultimate goal is to build a theater.
"If you're willing to donate a theater, we'll be happy to name it after you," he said. "Our biggest goal is to not have to rely on the kindness of strangers. We're interested in staying in Columbia County and we want to grow with that."
Greene also said he would eventually like to have an adult division which produces two or three shows a year.
"But we'll do it in reverse and let the adults support our youth program," he said.
Show dates for Cheaper by the Dozen are set for 8 p.m. March 21, 3 and 8 p.m. March 22 and 3 p.m. March 23. A venue has not been secured. Ticket prices are $12 and $10 for seniors and students. Call and reserve for a group of 12 and get $1 off each ticket.
"It's cheaper by the dozen," Greene quipped.
For more information about the Young Artists Repertory Theater Co. Inc., point your browser to www.yart.org.
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