Originally created 09/30/97

Augusta Players to call Imperial home for season



The vagabond Augusta Players have a regular place to set up stage, at least for a while.

The Players, without a permanent home for three years, will stage two remaining adult shows of the 1997-98 season at the Imperial Theatre. The group also may stage its children's shows there but will keep its dinner theater at the Bon Air Ballroom.

The Players hope the Imperial Theatre location will make its shows easier to find.

"My board decided they thought it would be the wiser move to have a central location, rather than traveling about," said Jay Willis, the Players' executive director.

Shows scheduled for Fort Gordon and Augusta Technical Institute later in the 1997-98 season will now shift to the Imperial, and their dates will change. The Crucible shifts from Dec. 5-7 to Mar. 27-29, 1998, and Dearly Departed goes from Mar. 13-15, 1998, to May 8-10.

As part of the deal, the Augusta Players will present two shows in the summer of 1998, with profits going to the Imperial.

While this move provides temporary stability, the Players are still looking for a permanent home, Mr. Willis said. The troupe had called the Lawton B. Evans school building home but the Richmond County school board, which owned the building, decided it wanted it back. The building now has been sold and razed.

Mr. Willis announced the deal for the troupe's new location at this weekend's performances of the musical Into the Woods at the Imperial.

Norm Easterbrook, executive director of the Imperial, said he was pleased with the deal.

"It should stabilize their market and hopefully build the audience," Mr. Easterbrook said.