Starstruck


“It never seemed like a tangible reality,” said sophomore Candace Shirley. “Yet here we are at the groundbreaking for a new theatre facility.” 

The official groundbreaking for a new 250-seat theatre at historic Blackstone Hall, the oldest brick building on Berry College’s campus, marked a dream becoming a reality for many Berry donors, alumni, students, faculty and staff.  

Audrey Morgan, a passionate advocate for the arts at Berry and Honorary Co-Chair of the LifeReady Campaign, led the fundraising for the new theatre with a $1 million challenge gift in 2015. Her generosity inspired others, resulting in more than $4 million in additional gifts in just one year’s time. The total jumped again during the groundbreaking with Morgan’s surprise announcement of a $1 million gift by the foundation of her late sister, Dr. Bobbie Bailey, leaving the $6.7 million project just $600,000 short of completion.

“After two tours of Blackstone Hall – there was no doubt in my mind that the needs of this program and this facility were the greatest,” said Morgan. “We have the leadership and the Broadway quality talent and they deserve a first class facility.” 

The new theatre at Blackstone is scheduled to open for the 2017-18 academic year. After the ceremony; donors, special guests and students were invited to attend Berry College Theatre Company’s outdoor production of “Peter and the Starcatcher”.  

In this prequel to the story of Peter Pan, audiences learned the origins of Neverland and the story behind the phrase, “faith, trust and pixie dust.” “Peter and the Starcatcher” chronicles the adventures of Molly, a girl charged with protecting a valuable crate of “star-stuff” and Peter, an orphan who eventually becomes The Boy Who Never Grew Up. 

“The thing that makes this show so special is just the sheer amount of ‘play’ and imagination that goes on. When I get on the stage and perform with this cast, it feels like I'm a little kid using my imagination, playing pirates and Indians and all things that kids do, to tell the story of Peter Pan,” said sophomore Tyler Vaughan who plays the role of Peter Pan. “Our director Hannah Hammond managed to put on the first outdoor theatre show at Berry in just one month. This has been an exciting adventure and I'm so proud of everyone that made this show happen!” 

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Article by Public Relations Assistant Alexi Bell.