The community of Newberry has become known for the performing arts thanks to the thankless efforts of many, many people. We’ve had big names at the Opera House and regional musicians at downtown festivals.
One area of performance that often goes overlooked is the Newberry Community Players. This group of volunteer stage-hands, sound technicians, and actors have been giving their time and talent since the 1970’s. Today, the Players host movies, marionettes, and musicals throughout the county. A few times a year, the youth of Newberry are given the opportunity to audition and act onstage as part of the “Young Players.” It was just a few months ago, that they performed a play from the beloved Chronicles of Narnia. This weekend, they will be tackling the Shakespeare comedy, “A Midsummer Nights Dream.” In this play, the Duke of Athens is getting married and the festivities include a hilarious acting troupe, fairies who are up to their old tricks, and a pair of star crossed lovers. It is a timeless tale that has been perfected by the youth of Newberry. My son was cast as part of the play, and I offered to help in any way possible. I didn’t know that meant I would be given a very small role, but I accepted the challenge. Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure and the privilege to witness the transformation of a group of rowdy teens into an acting company that impresses. Director Ellen Hunt has truly outdone herself with her unique ability to make Shakespeare fun for middle and high school students. These kids have sacrificed their afternoons and Saturdays to memorize their archaic and odd lines, which is absolutely not an easy feat. Now it is time for the people of Newberry to do their part by supporting the play on Friday or Saturday night at 8pm and on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Ritz on Main Street. Tickets can be purchased at the Newberry Opera House, or at the door. Although Newberry is best known for it’s professional concerts, I do believe that it is the youth of this production that should be applauded the loudest. Please come out this weekend and support these young people as they make Shakespeare come alive.