Cast members of "High School Musical Jr." perform a number during rehearsals in February

Despite the new normal in Auburn, the Auburn Area Community Theatre wants local residents to know that they are “still standing.” 

“Still Standing”— the theme for the 2020-2021 season for AACT — is now underway and the organization is formally opening its doors to the public for its next great acts.

The AACT, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, serves the Auburn/Opelika area as an opportunity for education and participation in the world of theatre and presents a quality, entertaining and thought-provoking theatre experience. Serving as a member of the Auburn Arts Association, the Alabama Conference of Theatre, the Southeastern Theatre Conference, the American Association of Community Theatre, and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, the AACT has been providing the Auburn area with theater opportunities for adults, teens and children while also providing theater education for all ages. 

 This year’s schedule, despite recent curveballs from Covid-19, will include “Super, Happy, Awesome News,” a virtual show put on by the AACT Jr. performers; “A Christmas Carol,” a live radio play; “Holiday Walk in the Woods” at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center;  and “Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone,” a romantic parody performed by AACT Young performers. AACT will cap the season with the Tony award-winning comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” 

Cora Connelly, on behalf of AACT, wants Auburn citizens to know that despite the current climate, AACT is still looking to provide the enjoyment of theater to the community.

“We’ve had to make a few changes to how we run our program,” Connelly said. “However, we are ready to move forward this year’s theme Still Standing.

“We want to continue serving as a place of education and activity for this community even if we have to get a little creative on exactly how that is done.”

The AACT is calling all who may be interested to open auditions for its first live play of the season, “A Christmas Carol.” Auditions will be held on Oct. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jan Dempsey Community Arts Center on Opelika Road. 

This play-within-a-play requires up to six men, five women, ages 16 and up, to portray the actors of a 1940’s radio station who will bring to life all the characters in a live radio performance of Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.”

Because of the unique structure of the show, Connelly and AACT are encouraging all who are interested to come out, even those with little to no prior theater experience. 

“Since the show is actually structured in a radio station setting, the actors will be reading from scripts so the main emphasis is not actually on memorization but just performance,” Connelly said. “The radio actors are actually going to bring the story line to life through their performance.” 

In the show, guests can expect to see the familiar story unfold through the voices of the radio actors: three ghosts taking Ebenzer Scrooge on a thrilling journey of his past, present and future to teach him the true meaning of Christmas. 

With an expected December opening date, actors will be required to commit to weekly rehearsals on Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. from Oct. 13 to Nov. 23. Dress rehearsals will be held Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, with show dates set for Dec. 3 through Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and a matinée performance at 2 p.m. on Dec. 6. 

In addition to "A Christmas Carol," the Auburn community is also invited to join the AACT for a “Holiday Walk in the Woods” at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center Dec. 18 through Dec. 20. The show will feature a walking small-group tour through the winter woods, with lights, decorations and songs by local talent at stations along the trail. All performances will be family-friendly and highlight the diverse traditions and culture of the Auburn community. 

As for the remainder of the season, the local Auburn community can look out for open auditions for “Sally Cotter and the Censored Stone,” featuring young performers ages 13-18, and the season-ender, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

Despite new Covid protocols and the era of social distancing, in the words of Connelly … “AACT is still standing.”

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