The arts and entertainment outlook in the Lakelands for 2022 looks promising.
Organizations have big plans. Several are sharing a bit about what’s ahead in the new year.
Greenwood Community Theatre“We have some exciting shows,” said Stephen Gilbert, Greenwood Community Theatre executive director. “’The Great Gatsby’ is scheduled for February, sponsored by Greenwood Eye Clinic.”
GCT technical director John F. Keenan will direct “The Great Gatsby.” The stage adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary work will bring to life a book that is often studied in middle and high schools.
“Tying in this literary component is an important element of our outreach,” Gilbert said. “It is supported with a grant from Duke Energy, to encourage reading.”
In April, Greenwood Community Theatre brings another non-musical to the stage with “The Boys Next Door,” a play by Tom Griffin. Brad Christie will direct. This poignant story, about four men with intellectual disabilities who live in a group home, is not to be missed.
Gilbert said GCT’s Penguin Project will again produce a youth-oriented show for actors with disabilities and special needs in September.
“Our summer show will be ‘Cinderella’ and we will round out the year with ‘Frozen Jr.,’” Gilbert said. “These, along with our outdoor Shakespeare performance at Uptown Market should give everyone something to look forward to in the year ahead.”
City of Abbeville and Abbeville Opera House“Honestly, it’s just wonderful to be back hosting live musical and comedy events,” said Emily Bledsoe, special events coordinator with the City of Abbeville.
Bledsoe said the historic Abbeville Opera House was dark for months during the height of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Being able to bring laughter and joy back to the community after a really difficult period is truly special,” Bledsoe said. “I think everyone, including myself, has a newfound appreciation for live entertainment.”
In 2022, Bledsoe said Abbeville Opera House has performances “lined up for almost every weekend.” Organizers are bringing in new acts and bringing back returning favorites. Early in 2022, are a number of tribute band shows, with nods to legendary performers Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd and Stevie Wonder.
Plus, the newly-formed Abbeville Community Performing Arts board is scheduling live theater at AOH.
“Their production of ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ in December 2021 was a huge success,” Bledsoe said.
Greenwood Artist Guild The Greenwood Artist Guild is gearing up with workshops led by members Virginia Pulver, Bob Poe and others. Learn how to create art from “everyday moments”, how to stretch your own canvases and how to paint florals with acrylics, to name a few things.
Greenwood Performing ArtsLisa M. Sanders, Greenwood Performing Arts executive director, said the nonprofit is poised to bring world-class acts to the Lakelands, continuing its 75-year legacy.
On Jan. 21, a Journey tribute band takes the stage at Greenwood Community Theatre for a GPA concert. Stay tuned for a GPA event in March commemorating Women’s History Month.
Among new programs GPA is bringing in 2022 is Violins of Hope in May, through a grant from the Self Family Foundation.
The program centers on a collection of violins and other stringed instruments that survived the Holocaust.
These instruments were played by Jewish musicians before and during World War II, including by people who endured horrors of concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Renowned Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein has devoted years to restoration of violins of the Holocaust as a tribute to those who were lost, including his own relatives.
Greenwood Performing Arts is orchestrating a three-fold approach to Violins of Hope:
Plans are for a daytime youth outreach program May 10 at Abbeville Opera House, open to area students. Also scheduled is an evening concert May 11 at Greenwood Community Theatre, where these stringed instruments will be played. Plus, there will be an exhibit at The Museum of Greenwood in May, showcasing restored Violins of Hope instruments, their stories and stories of Jewish musicians who played them.
“I’m excited to partner with these different venues in the coming year to bring these events to the Lakelands,” Sanders said.
Arts Center of GreenwoodSylvia Martin, Arts Center of Greenwood executive director, said two popular events the nonprofit hosted in 2021 are returning in the spring of 2022.
The Uptown Art Walk is scheduled for April 7 and Earth into Art is scheduled May 7. Both events are free and open to the public.
”These were very popular,” Martin said. “Earth into Art is sale by the Greenwood clay community, with more than 15 local potters selling hand-crafted items in one place. The Uptown Art Walk enables us to showcase the Lander University bachelor of fine arts students’ work, local art venues and there’s live music. There was a huge turnout for the Art Walk this year.”
McCormick Arts Council at the KeturahIn 2022, the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK) plans to start a major rehabilitation project of its facilities, a historic hotel, that opened its doors as a community arts center in McCormick in 1985.
Heather McNally, MACK programs and development director, said an initial investment of $1.2 million is committed to initiating phase one of the project, allowing for expansion of arts and cultural facilities in McCormick and events and activities.
The project includes increasing accessibility design, for compliance with Americans with Disability Act standards, updating utility services and repair deficiencies to the building, approaching renovations in a historically-sensitive way and creation of flexible and multi-use program spaces.
While prepping for the MACK rehabilitation project, McNally said the Artisans Guild and Gift Shop have permanently relocated to 218 S. Main St. The shop has handcrafted fine art, jewelry and more.
The shop now has a brighter, larger storefront, bringing increased foot traffic downtown, McNally said.
Contact St. Claire Donaghy at 864-943-2518.