Williamson has no shortage of wonderful outdoor recreational activities and local businesses to explore, but in the recent past, the local area has been limited when it comes to locally produced theater. This situation is quickly changing!The Appalachian Players Guild, a group of like-minded actors and other creatives, have come together to bring what member Curtis Crum calls “some of the most creative, artistic experiences” to people in the area.
The actors comprising the Guild came together in 2021 out of their shared desire to bring “family-friendly theater to the rural coalfields of West Virginia,” Curtis says. The group is made up of newcomers and experienced talent alike, and they are striving to bring the best productions possible to this area. Their first show was 12 Angry Men, which was brought to the stage 6 times in October 2021 in the Williamson Field House via a collaboration with Williamson Parks and Recreation.
Hard Work Pays Off
While it is obvious that the Guild is planning to bring a lot to this area, and have plenty of fun doing it, putting together these shows is no easy task. “Once we pin down a family friendly show, you have to figure out how to build your set in the venue available, find your cast and arrange everyone’s schedules, find costumes, lighting, effects, and so many other little things,” Curtis says. “Producing a show here is the same as anywhere else, and the trick is to actually make it all work together.”
That’s not to say that there aren’t unique problems that crop up if you’re working in the arts in this region. Curtis says thanks to their president, Dawn Mills, and the support of their board members, they have found ways to navigate these challenges and find solutions to their problems.
Enriching Lives One Production at a Time
Despite the difficulties, it’s rewarding work, and Curtis feels that bringing the arts to people in the area enriches their lives. “We believe that the arts should be an important part of everyone’s lives, not just because that’s how it is for us, but because we know how they can enrich the lives and ignite minds of all souls, young and old.”
For years, Curtis and others in the Guild have watched the arts in this area struggle, and they are excited to be a part of turning that around. “APG strives to bring families back to the theater, and bring great stories to all minds in all areas,” he says. “At the end of the day, we hope that we can help people to think, or to feel, and in a perfect situation, both.”
Their ability to achieve these goals is, at least in part, thanks to their partnership with Williamson Parks and Recreation. “Thanks to our partnership, we now have the ability to bring more elaborate and captivating productions to our area.”
The Guild is currently working on their upcoming show which is an adaptation of the children's’ classic Charlotte’s Web. Shows will be performed September 9th, 10th, and 11th, and they will be performing shows for local schools during this time, as well. Curtis also teases that there will be an announcement regarding their future shows during this run, and curious people will have to come out to see the show to hear the announcement!
To keep yourself updated on the Appalachian Players Guild and what they’re bringing to this area, check out their Facebook page!