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SFA SummerStage Festival to bring popular classics to life

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May 27, 2014—Robbie Goodrich

NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS—The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Theatre has renamed its summer theatre program, giving it a fresh new image and approach that’s sure to please audiences of all ages.

The 2014 SFA SummerStage Festival, formerly called Summer Repertory Theatre, 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 new festive name is a reflection of the SFA School of Theatre’s effort to inform audiences that seeing a play is a casual and fun way to spend time in the summer with family and friends, according to Scott Shattuck, director of the School of Theatre.

“Audiences for our summer shows have grown enormously over the past few years,” Shattuck said. “But we want to welcome even more people who may not realize yet how fun our shows really are. What we do is storytelling – it's entertainment, it's songs and humor and suspense, and it's a blast.”

Laura Rikard, assistant professor of theatre at SFA, whose production of "Charlotte's Web" set the school’s all-time summer attendance record last year, will direct Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland," as delightful a tale as any that has enchanted kids through the ages. And Zach Hanks, also assistant professor of theatre who's making his SFA stage-directing debut, will direct Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," a novel and Oscar-winning movie that's captivated American young people and their parents for generations.

Both plays are produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Ill.

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.

Patrons are encouraged to come an hour before curtain time for outdoor pre-show festivities, Shattuck said.

To be sure the summer shows are accessible to the entire community, the School of Theatre started experimenting with "Pay-What-You-Can" performances. At these special shows, those who are able to pay $15 for a ticket are asked to support the school by doing so, but those who can only pay $10, $5 or even $1 are equally welcome, Shattuck said.

For the second year, the Nacogdoches Walmart has agreed to underwrite the costs of this year’s “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.”

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.