The Georgia Repertory Theatre’s second Summer Theatre Series broke numerous records this year, according to officials.
The collection of five productions played to over 3,000 people via 52 performances in 10 weeks.
The Georgia Repertory Theatre is a collaboration between the Springer Opera House and Columbus State University’s Department of Theatre. Although CSU had a series of summer productions in previous years, this is the first time the two organizations have worked together to produce this new summer series for Georgia Repertory.
Richard Baxter, dean of CSU’s College of the Arts, said he is pleased with the numerous milestones this summer brought.
“It was obvious from the audience size and ticket sales that the Georgia Repertory Theatre partnership with the Springer Opera House enhanced interest in the GRT’s Summer Theatre Festival,” he said. “We were also very proud of the critical acclaim the productions received.”
Of the five productions included in this year’s Summer Series, two held at CSU’s Riverside Theatre hit significant milestones.
“Hairspray” was Georgia Repertory’s first mainstage show to surpass 1,200 in ticket sales. The show played to an average crowd of 200 each night, while “What the Butler Saw” set a new attendance record for a play and dinner theater. Additionally, the summer company was the largest yet with 80 people participating in 2017.
Baxter pointed out that Georgia Repertory Theatre is active year-round — not just in the summer. The theatre provides educational programming for the Muscogee County School District as one of its partners in education.
“Our performances for Title I schools in MCSD are critical to bringing creative theater to students who may not otherwise experience live theatre,” Baxter said.
Baxter was clear on the long-term vision for Georgia Repertory Theatre and the impact they intend to have on the fine arts community at large.
“GRT is designed to be the nation’s next great teaching theater, so the educational opportunities for CSU theatre majors will be incredible,” he said. “Add to this the continued development of world-class artistic excellence in live theater, which currently generates $4.2 million in economic development.”
Georgia Repertory has plans to continue the upward trend moving forward.
“Our goal is to make the GRT Summer Theatre Festival a major tourism attraction from May through July,” Baxter said. “We will announce next summer’s productions early next year.”