Memberships available for Civic Theater’s 2018-19 season, auditions scheduled

by By Cristin Parker

Lovers of the theater, has the Cherokee Civic Theatre got a deal for you!

The Cherokee Civic Theatre (CCT)’s annual membership drive is open, and theater patrons are invited to cash in on the deals, steals, perks and privileges that come with being a CCT member.

“With the price of movie tickets and concessions on the rise, becoming a member of the Theatre really is the best bang for your entertainment buck,” CCT Vice President of Membership Carol Dilliard said. CCT audiences are treated to a traditional season of four full-length live-theater productions – including at least one musical and a Christmas show -- which run from October through April.

“The show would not go on without our patrons, members and volunteers,” longtime theater volunteer and board member Jerry Parker said. “We appreciate so much the support of all our members and patrons – you’re why we do this in the first place.”

The First Night membership package starts at $50 and includes one ticket to every show, reserved seating, mailed reminders of upcoming productions, recognition in every show’s program, discounts on additional tickets and voting privileges at the theater’s annual meeting. Student memberships and junior memberships are also available for $25 and $10, respectively. Contact the CCT Box Office, (903) 683-2131 or visit CCT’s website,, to become a CCT patron member.

This season’s line up of plays begins with the fall musical ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,’ set for Oct. 6-7 and 12-14. The annual Christmas play, ‘Scrooge of the West,’ hits the stage Dec. 7-9 and features a holiday classic with an old West twist, written by longtime CCT alum and Rusk resident Sheilah O’Heaney. The spring production, set for Feb. 23-24 and March 1-2, showcases the world premiere of ‘A.M WWJG,’ penned by another local writer, Minette Bryant, of Jacksonville. The final show of the 2018-19 season is ‘Leading Ladies,’ by Ken Ludwig, set for May 4-5 and 10-11, 2019.

Proceeds from shows, season ticket memberships and donations from members and others help keep the theater moving forward.

The all-volunteer, non-profit organization has dedicated more than 45 years to bringing the dramatic arts to the greater East Texas area.

According to the CCT’s website,, the group’s mission is “to afford opportunities for cultural and artistic enrichment in East Texas by providing a venue for local talent to produce live theater for the entertainment of diverse audiences. Our goal is to educate both youth and adults in all aspects of the theater and to encourage volunteers to learn and showcase their skills, both on and off the stage.”

Patrons can get a sneak peek at budding thespians this month, too, as CCT’s 14th annual Thespians in Training (TnT) summer camp started this week.

“Tallulah is so excited about TnT Camp,” TnT parent Leslie Lankford stated, via Facebook. “All day she’s l been saying ‘I can’t wait to meet all my new friends!’”

Students in grades 1 through 12 will spend the next two weeks learning every aspect of putting on a live play, by actually putting on their own live play in separate, age-appropriate ‘troupes.’

“We have campers grouped in three troupes, by age – first through sixth graders; seventh and eighth graders; and freshmen through seniors – who meet at three different times each day of camp,” TnT Director Sheilah O’Heaney said. “Each troupe works on putting on its own play, from the ground up! They do it all – build sets, make costumes, act, direct, put on makeup, sing, dance, learn lines, operate the technical effects like sound and lights – just everything! It’s a whole lot of awesome crammed into two weeks! Come join us, because ‘all the world’s a stage!”

Camp runs through July 27 and troupes will present their plays to the public during the Grand Finale Showcase, Saturday, July 28.

Adults can get in on the fun during the regular season too, both in front of and behind the curtain.

“You can get involved by being cast in a show or by volunteering for backstage positions like stage manager, set or sound design, lighting and costume design,” CCT board member Lisa Pierce said. “There is no experience required, just show up on the audition day! There is no shortage of ways to get involved here!”

Auditions for the upcoming production of ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ are scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, July 29 and 6 p.m., Monday, July 30, at the theater. Director is Jessica House. There are seven leads roles, open to anyone ages 14 to 40 years. Chorus and minor roles are open to anyone 10 years of age and older. Those interested in auditioning need to be prepared to sing a musical piece a capella and are urged to wear shoes that will allow them to dance (no sandals or flip-flops).

The Cherokee Civic Theatre is located at 157 W. Fifth St., in downtown Rusk.