NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The lineup of summer shows by the Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre not only has a new name, there are also new pre-show activities for audiences designed to add to the excitement of the all-new SummerStage Festival.
Formerly called Summer Repertory Theatre, the 2014 SFA SummerStage Festival will feature Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," adapted by Anne Coulter Martens, and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," adapted by Christopher Sergel. The festival runs June 27 through July 18.
The School of Theatre has teamed up with SFA Student Services and Aramark to provide pre-show snacks for festival-goers and summer theatre patrons, according to Scott Shattuck, School of Theatre director.
"We want to invite everyone in the community to this fun and casual festival," Shattuck said. "Feel free to drop in for the ice cream and free live music outside, then come on inside for the play if it suits your fancy."
Ice cream novelties and soft drinks will be on sale starting one hour before all evening and weekend shows, according to Sam Smith, director of student services at SFA, who brings his own experience in summer theatre.
"I served as the producer for couple of summer theater productions in previous college towns," Smith said. "These were always great fun for the audiences and the student players. These shows are great opportunities for birthdays, class reunions, church outings and family vacations."
Refreshments will not be available before weekday matinees.
The free pre-show entertainment will be outside the main entrance to Griffith Fine Arts Building (on the lawn between Cole Concert Hall and North Street) and begins one hour before each evening and weekend performance of the SFA SummerStage Festival and one half-hour before each weekday matinee.
The Quirks, a musical duo of two SummerStage student company members, Pedro Dominguez and Angel Williams, will perform prior to each performance of "Alice In Wonderland." Prior to performances of "To Kill a Mockingbird," Charlie Jones and Camino Real will perform before the June 27 and 28 performances; Jones will perform solo before the July 8 performance; and the Keith Whitton Band will perform before the July 11 and 18 performances. Entertainment before the July 10 and 15 performances is yet to be determined.
Performances of "To Kill A Mockingbird" are at 7:30 p.m. nightly on June 27 and 28 and July 8, 10, 11, 15 and 18. General admission tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7.50 for students/youth. Performances of "Alice in Wonderland" are at 10 a.m. July 15, 17 and 18; at 2 p.m. July 3, 5, and 16; and at 6:30 p.m. July 5, 12 and 17. General admission tickets for "Alice In Wonderland" are $7.50.
To be sure the SummerStage shows are accessible to the entire community, the School of Theatre started experimenting last year with "Pay-What-You-Can" performances. At these special shows, those who are able to pay full price for a ticket are asked to support the program by doing so, but those who can only pay a few dollars or even a dollar or less are equally welcome, Shattuck said.
For the second year, the Nacogdoches Walmart has agreed to underwrite these "Pay-What-You-Can" shows, which include the June 28 performance of "To Kill A Mockingbird" and the 2 p.m. July 5 performance of "Alice In Wonderland."
"These beloved stories are for everyone, and Walmart is making it possible for us to welcome the whole community, regardless of ability to pay," Shattuck said. "We are grateful that our friends at Walmart agree that no kid, no family, no one living on a fixed income should be excluded from the SummerStage Festival."
For tickets or more information, visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu or call (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS. All performances are in W.M. Turner Auditorium in the Griffith Fine Arts Building on the SFA campus.