When the stage lights came up Thursday at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center, the Liberty County High School Drama Club students had a somewhat rare opportunity to feature their talents for the community.
The group presented their annual showcase, which included a series of short monologues and scenes, plus a one-act adaptation of the Oscar Wilde comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The event was the first time the club has used the newly converted LCPAC building to hold a performance.
The club previously brought this adaptation to the stage last fall at the regional one-act play competition put on by the Georgia State Literacy Division and placed third overall, said Mike Collins, LCHS Drama Club coach. The troupe also had several standouts who won individual awards at the competition, making it a standout year, he said.
The showcase was one of the few times that the actors perform in front of an audience, since the extracurricular activity receives no funding from the school system as their sports team counterparts do, he said. The school does have a drama teacher and offers two drama classes, which Collins notes are quite popular and important because they give students access to the arts.
“Several of these students foresee having a career in theater, and it is of the utmost importance for us to have things like this at the school and in the community for them,” he said. “Otherwise, they would have to go to places such as Savannah or Atlanta just to get training.”
Samone Norsworthy, a parent volunteer with the LCHS Drama Booster Club, helps to coordinate fundraisers and ran the concession stand during the showcase’s intermission. For Norsworthy, supporting her daughter, Charlotte, and the drama club is important so that Charlotte has the opportunity to participate in something she loves.
“Without traditional funding, we have to fundraise for everything we do,” she said.
She noted that the students have been going above and beyond by literally creating the production from the ground up. The LCHS Art Club helped with costume and scene design, and all the actors and crew put in time to help with props and put together costumes.
Showcase director John Jenkinson is a Liberty alum who has been volunteering his time to the school for the past four years. Jenkinson was in the drama club all four years at Liberty, and then graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in theater. He credits this year’s group of students and their families as the keys to their success.
“What set us apart this year was the students and the community who really came together as a team with costumes and sets; it was a real community effort to get ready for the competition,” he said.
He noted that a majority of the set pieces and furniture used in the production were donations from the community.
Jenkinson said that to put on larger productions, the club will continue to need support from the community, especially with a larger following coming out and supporting the arts to see future productions that the students put on.
“I want the community to see the arts as having just as much of an entertainment value than going to see a football game on Friday night,” he said.
Jenkinson hopes that more of the community will get involved to help enrich the lives of LCHS students.
As they have done the past few years, the club will bring a musical to the LCPAC stage sometime this spring, although the students haven’t settled on which one they will perform.
Drama Club seniors Madison Campbell, Josh Glandon, Jabrell Thomas and Samantha Ciminnisi all are excited for the upcoming musical they plan to be part of. Although they all aim to stay involved in drama in the future, they currently have no plans to make the stage a lifelong career.
“When you’re here, you get to be yourself around people,” Thomas said. “It helps my confidence. Before I was in the drama club, it was like I was in a box.”
Anyone who is interested in assisting with the upcoming musical can call Collins through the LCHS office at 876-4316.