Saturday, January 31, 2009

[Coweta Arts Tidbits] Darren Matthews Named Artistic Director of Newnan Theatre; Other Personnel Changes Announced

Coweta Arts Tidbits

The Successor To Newnan-Coweta Arts Council News Releases

Composed By: Forrest W. Schultz 770-583-3258

January 31, 2009

Darren Matthews Named Artistic Director Of Newnan Theatre


Other Personnel  Changes Also Announced


     Dianne Olsen, the Publicity Director of the Newnan Theatre has just released the following information concerning various personnel changes, the highlight of which consists in information about the new Artistic Director Darren Matthews, whose photograph is shown below: 

Newnan Community Theatre Company
:  Dianne Olsen

NCTC Names New Artistic Director

In its 30-plus years of providing live entertainment to downtown Newnan, the Newnan Community Theatre Company struggled in 2008, however, they are coming back strong in 2009.  Its season-opener, M*A*S*H, played to sold-out audiences and they have over 130 season-ticket holders.  The Board of Directors no longer manages the day-to-day operations of the theatre.  The Board handles oversight and policy, while a Theatre Operations Committee handles theatre management.

Laurel Alford, most recently the theatre's artistic director, will be taking over the newly-created position of Director of Youth Activities, announced Rick Olsen, NCTC's Managing Director.  "Laurel oversees the theatre's wildly successful KidsCamp and this will allow her to focus on the camp and other youth programs," Olsen said.  Alford also heads XTras!, a free Tuesday-evening group for teenagers to learn more about acting, directing, and producing shows.

Next up for Alford will be directing Winter KidsCamp.  This will be held the week of February 16th, during winter break for Coweta County schools.  That will be followed by a Spring KidsCamp in April.  She will then direct the next children's production, The Jungle Book.  That show will be performed in April with a cast of children only.

Taking over as Artistic Director, as of February 1st,  will be Darren Mathews.  Mathews discovered NCTC when he auditioned for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  Mathews was born in Stone Mountain and raised in Peachtree City.  He graduated from the University of Kentucky.   His first theatre experience was with the Studio Players of Lexington, one of the oldest community theaters in Kentucky.  He played the role of Nick Pym in The Sister Rosensweig.  After this small part, he became very involved with the theater community at college.  He took classes on writing, acting, and directing, with an emphasis on experimental theater.  He performed in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, True West, Perfect Wedding, Tempest, and Richard Cory along with multiple smaller plays.  He also worked a professional dinner theater show, Happy B-day, Wanda June with a group of students.  He also was Assistant Director for the Donavan's Reader, a senior citizen reading theater group.  He moved to Newnan in 2006.  Since his Cuckoo's Nest audition, he has been a regular volunteer at NCTC.  He acted in Wait Until Dark and M*A*S*H and was the stage manager for The Odd Couple. Mathews started NCTC's very popular improvisational comedy troupe, N.I.T.W.I.T.S., and is currently heading a writing workshop at the theatre for playwriting and scriptwriting. 

Rick Olsen will continue to head the Theatre Operations Committee as Managing Director.  When the Theatre Operating Committee was created, the position of President was dissolved.  Rounding out this committee is Mike Patterson as Technical Director, John Abbey as Financial Advisor, Sam Gentry as House Manager, and Dianne Olsen as Director of Marketing and Publicity. 

The Theatre Operations Committee is overseen by the Board of Directors.   Caroline Abbey has been re-elected as the Board Chairman.  Serving as Vice Chairman is John Thrasher.  New to the board this year is Marlene Rhodes as Secretary and Andy Sharp as Treasurer.  Also serving on the board is Gary Hyde, Ann Lynn Whiteside and Rick Olsen.

The Newnan Community Theatre Company is located at 24 First Avenue in downtown Newnan.  The theatre is a 100% non-profit, volunteer organization.  For more information, visit their website at or call them at (770) 683-6282.

Photo by Dianne Olsen:  Darren Mathews

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