News & Events
40th Anniversary of Owen Theatre Celebrated
A scene from the 1973 production of Rivals in Owen Theatre, featuring Eileen Russell (center) as Lucy, Neil St. Clair ’74 (left) as Faulkland, and David Covington ’76 (right) as Absolute.
It was 40 years ago this fall that Owen Theatre opened on the campus of Mars Hill College, with the world premier of the musical Rivals, written by long-time theatre arts professor C. Robert Jones. Since then, Owen Theatre has been the site of all things theatrical at Mars Hill College (now University), serving as the home not only of the theatre arts program, but the professional Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre as well.
In celebration of 40 years of theatre excellence, the Mars Hill University Theatre Arts Department is planning a Rivals and theatre arts alumni reunion, to be held during the weekend of the University homecoming festivities, October 4 – 6.
Many of the original cast and production crew will be returning to campus to present a concert version reading and singing of Rivals on Saturday evening, October 5. There will be no admission charge, but reservations are strongly encouraged as there is only one performance and seating is limited. Curtain is at 7:45 pm.
On Friday, October 4th, at 5:30 pm there will be a theatre arts alumni dinner in the Redway Room of the Pittman Dining Hall. On Saturday October 5th, at 10:00am in Owen Theatre there will be an alumni coffee reception. This will be a great time to see old friends, share photographs and relive past theatrical glory on the Owen Theatre stage.
This project is being headed by Neil St. Clair, professor of theatre arts at Mars Hill University, and member of the original 1973 Rivals cast. To make reservations for either the Rivals production or the alumni dinner, leave a message for St. Clair at 828-689-1462.
“After realizing that fall 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the show, I thought it would be fun to try to get the original cast and crew back to celebrate the show, Owen Theatre, and C. Robert Jones,” St. Clair said.
Returning for the Rivals reunion will be most many of the original 1973 production staff including, of course, C. Robert Jones, retired theatre arts professor Jim Thomas, music professor Julie Fortney and former theatre arts professor Dewitt Tipton. Returning performers include David Covington, Pam Smith Linke, Pamela Polk Parker. Theresa Phillips Edsall, Earl Leininger, Neil St. Clair, Bill Gregg, Eileen Russell Goure, and many more.