Theater fans should mark their calendars

TUPELO – In about a month, the Lyric Theatre will be overrun by creative types.
The 2010 Mississippi Theatre Association Festival will bring cast and crews from throughout the state to Tupelo from Jan. 14-17. They’ll learn from each other, compete against each other and perform for you, if you’re interested.
“We have 10 high schools and 10 community theaters scheduled,” said Tom Booth, an MTA board member.
High school thespians will perform at the Lyric throughout the day on Jan. 15. The lineup will include Corinth, Lafayette, Oxford, Starkville, Olive Branch, Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, Pearl River Central, Picayune Memorial and Ocean Springs high schools.
Also on Jan. 15, a variety of theater companies will perform during Theatre for Youth, which includes shows geared to kids from kindergarten to high school. Those shows will be staged at Tupelo High School Fine Arts Auditorium.
Community theaters will take over the Lyric Theatre on Jan. 16, with productions of “Rabbit Hole,” “Graceland,” “Nunsense,” “An Appalachian Twelfth Night” and more.
“The whole festival is totally open for anybody to come and watch a block of shows, or all of the shows,” Booth said. “A block is usually two or three shows, and that’s a $5 ticket.”
You’ll get a day pass for $15 and a weekend pass for $25.
But there’s more to the festival than shows. The full registration fee is $35/MTA members and $45/non-members. That includes access to a variety of workshops and meetings.
“We’ll have workshops on directing, staged combat and a bunch of others,” Booth said. “Lighting 101 is one of our most requested workshops.”
In addition, the winners of MTA’s Playwriting Competition will be read, and high school students will compete in a 10-Minute Play Contest.
“They’ll basically write, direct and stage a play in 24 hours,” Booth said.
MTA expects to attract about 700 people to town for the event. That’s a load of talented people displaying their talents in Tupelo.
“It really is a great opportunity for North Mississippi people to see high-quality, award-winning theater,” Booth said. “Come join us.”

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M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

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