HATTIESBURG, MISS. (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) – Theater lovers are in for another year of surprising and upbeat summer entertainment. The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Theatre and Dance will present its 34th season of Southern Arena Theatre (SAT) and its sixth season of Midsummer Musical Theatre Experience starting in June.
Individual tickets will be available to the general public beginning June 7.
SAT will present William Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" in the Martha R. Tatum Theatre starting June 24. In this hilarious and joyous theater event, Shakespeare weaves a series of comedic mistaken identities in one of his funniest and most light-hearted plays.
"We want to bring Shakespeare's wonderful comedy to our community as a celebration of the exciting theater we have produced in past summers and of future seasons in which this valuable and much loved program may be returned to a full repertory," said Lou Rackoff, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance.
SAT is a collaborative effort between both students and faculty of the Southern Miss theater department. Much like a professional theater company, both cast and crew work during the summer months to produce multiple shows in a full repertory. This year, SAT downsized to only one repertory instead of three in an effort to meet departmental budgetary needs.
Emily Brown Seal, a graduate of the Southern Miss theater program and current teacher at Hattiesburg High School, describes SAT as "the best kept secret in Hattiesburg."
"SAT truly serves the community and not just the student body," Seal said. "I still have community members recognize me in public and tell me how much they enjoy SAT."
SAT gives current students the opportunity to hone their skills over the summer in addition to the regular theater season. Devon Scrutchins, a Master's of fine arts performance student from Tulsa, Okla., said, "This experience helped me take my craft to the next level. It allowed me to feel ready and confident to work in a professional environment. Everyone is so passionate and focused on producing great theater."
Shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. June 24-26, 29-30, July 1-3 and at 2 p.m. June 27 and July 4. Prices are as follows: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, faculty, staff and military and $6 for students. All performances will take place in the Martha R. Tatum Theatre in the Theatre and Dance Building on the Southern Miss campus. Corporate donors for the 2010 season are Raising Cane's and Moore's Bike Shop.
Another summer favorite, Midsummer Musical Theatre Experience (MMTE), which is sponsored by the Department of Theatre and Dance and the School of Music is currently accepting applications for children ages 8-14.
"MMTE is an educational experience involving creative learning that culminates in a full theatrical production complete with music, costumes and sets," said Dr. Jennifer Shank, co-producer and associate producer of music. "It's a show that children, parents and grandparents will enjoy together."
For the sixth season, MMTE brings two weeks of vocal coaching, dancing and acting training to the Theatre and Dance Building, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 14-26. The camp culminates with the production of "Welcome to Bedside Manor" at 10 a.m. and noon June 25-26 in the Woods Theatre. Tickets are $5 at the door.
"We always have a wonderful time and grow every year with our number of campers who participate," said Robin Carr, producer and associate professor of voice and acting. 'Welcome to Bedside Manor' is a toe-tapping romp filled with music that is so contagious, everyone will leave the show humming a tune."
Camp tuition is $325 per student. Applications for MMTE can be downloaded at www.usm.edu/music.
For more information about SAT or MMTE, contact the Southern Miss Department of Theatre and Dance at 601.266.4994.