Students in the Dramatic Arts Program generate over 4,500 service learning hours each year, the largest civic engagement initiative of the University. Through these activities the Dramatic Arts Program contributes substantially to the economic development and community development of the city and surrounding area through cultural programming.
The Award- winning Rylander Theater/Community Partnership Program
Since 1999, the Rylander Theater/Community Partnership Program has served the economic and community development of Americus through outstanding cultural programming. This collaboration between the Americus Theater and Cultural Authority and the Dramatic Arts Department at Georgia Southwestern State University has received state, regional and national recognition for its programs:
- Vision and Leadership award from the Georgia Theater Conference,
- Outstanding Achievement in Organization from the Downtown Development Authority,
- Exemplary Support of Educational Theater Excellence from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and
- Recognized as a model of civic engagement by the American Democracy Project.
Events such as the Georgia Theater Conference State Convention and the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival have contributed over $1,000,000 to the local economy. These events, performances and presentations by artists as notable as Emmy award winning actor John Amos and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Margaret Edson, productions of Shakespeare plays offered free and open to the public, co-productions with Sumter Players, and the newly instituted Rylander Repertory Summer Theatre productions are made possible the continuing generous support of the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund.
The chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts at Georgia Southwestern State University and an Actors Equity Association artist, Jeffrey Green serves as Artistic Director for the partnership
Rylander Repertory - Free Shakespeare At The Rylander Theater
Since 2004 GSW Dramatic Arts and the Rylander Theatre have developed productions of Shakespeare plays offered free and open to the public, and made possible through the generous support of the Charles L. Mix Memorial Fund.
2010 - As You Like It
2009 - The Taming of the Shrew
2008 - The Tempest
2007 - Much Ado About Nothing
2006 - Loves Labors Lost
2005 - Merry Wives of Windsor
2004 - Twelfth Night
These productions included outreach and special performances for area schools.
The Charles L. Mix Fund Supports Rylander Theater/Community Partnership Productions
Since the inception of partnership programming, the Charles L. Mix Fund has supported these primary components:
- GSW student internships
- GSW access and utilization of the theater and jointly sponsored Rylander/GSW programs
- Co-productions of plays, musicals and theatre for youth activities with the Sumter Players'
- Chamber Concert Series performances
All programs include educational outreach to area schools and other youth development organizations.
Other productions brought to the community through the collaborative efforts of the Cultural Authority and Georgia Southwestern have included a tour of the inspiring bio-musical Mahalia; the Dance Alive presentation of Mata Hari, which included educational outreach programming through appearances of the scenic designer, poet and others involved in the creation of the production; the Georgia Mountain Theatre production of One Thousand Cranes for area schools; and the Deluxe Vaudeville Orchestra, which also included workshops for area high school band students.
GSW Dramatic Arts Co-Productions with Sumter Players, Inc.
The Wizard of Oz – Feb. 22-25 & Mar. 2-4, 2001 *#
A Christmas Carol – Nov. 13-16, 2003
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Nov. 17-20, 2005
Guys and Dolls – Mar. 9-12, 2006
A Dickens’ Christmas Carol – Dec. 7-10, 2006 *
The Sound of Music – March 15-18, 2007
Into the Woods – Nov. 8-11, 2007
The King and I – Mar. 6-9, 2008
The Gift of the Magi – Nov. 6-9, 2008
All Shook Up – March 12-15, 2009
Twelve Angry Men – Nov. 19-22, 2009
South Pacific – Mar. 25-28, 2010
Androcles and the Lion – Nov. 18-21, 2010
Nunsense – Mar. 31 – Apr. 3, 2010
Blithe Spirit – Nov. 17-20, 2011
Theater for Youth Productions with Sumter Players, Inc.
Narnia – June 4-6, 2004* Adventures of Harlequin – June 24-26, 2005*
Story Theater – Oct. 27-29, 2006* Percival the Performing Pig – July 25, 2008
Fairy Tale Courtroom – July 24, 2009 The Pied Piper of Hamelin – July 2, 2010
GSW Dramatic Arts & Sumter Players, Inc. Productions for the Georgia Theater Conference Community and Youth Theater Festivals
The Universal Language – 2003 The Dark Lady of the Sonnets – 2004
The Women of Roswell – 2006 Becoming Memories – 2008
Percival the Performing Pig – 2008
The Open Meeting – 2009
Fairy Tale Courtroom – 2009
GSW Dramatic Arts faculty, staff and students presented theater workshops in conjunction with Sumter Players Youth productions in 2004 and 2005. Since the inception of the Sumter Players, Inc./Rylander Theater “Kidsweek” theatre for youth workshops in the summer of 2007, GSW Dramatic Arts staff, students and alumni have been instrumentally involved in this annual event.
All shows were produced at the Rylander Theater unless otherwise noted ( * denotes production performed in the Fine Arts Theater, Georgia Southwestern State University; #denotes production performed in the Mary McCall Theater, Rees Park School).