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Theatre Renovates Habitat House

by Web on November 16, 2015


The Millsaps Players’ technical team recently took its talents to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and helped Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland rehabilitate a house.

The project grew from the Players’ fundraising as part of its production of The Tempest in October.

“We earmarked all of the ticket sales from The Tempest for Habitat Bay-Waveland, which serves the Mississippi Gulf Coast communities of Bay St. Louis, Waveland, Diamondhead, and Kiln, as well as Hancock County, because of the continuing post-Katrina rebuilding challenges there,” said Peter Friedrich, assistant professor of theatre at Millsaps.

“It is the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and we wanted to raise funds and remind people that our work there is not done. We got to know many of the Habitat staff members during the fund-raising process, and an idea came up for the Millsaps Players to send its technical team there to work with them.”

Millsaps students Tristan Bland, Paul Bonney, M.K. Bozeman, Ninette Hickey, Cali Longo Natalie Noebel and Allison Othmani and Matthew J. Holl, technical director of theatre and director of the Lewis Art Gallery, worked to renovate a house in Bay St. Louis.

“We joined the project after much of the flooring had been removed and replaced, but one of our workers did some work removing baseboards and drywall to get to parts of the floor that were still untreated,” Holl said. “We removed the old washer, dryer and stove, moved a few large cabinets and vanities and then spent much of the day cleaning and painting. We also helped with re-tiling the floor of the bathroom.”

Hickey painted porch railings, a ceiling and closet doors, tasks that she said made her recall the work of Habitat for Humanity in helping her hometown of New Orleans recover from Katrina.

“Being able to help out with the same kind of stuff that I grew up watching made me feel extremely honored,” she said. “I loved being able to help out a community in the same way that my community was helped when I was younger.”

Millsaps alumni, led by Angela Sallis, a board member of Habitat for Bay-Waveland, provided breakfast and lunch for the students.

“This was an all-around feel-good project,” Holl said. “It was great to see the students of our technical team so enthusiastically reaching out to support a great cause, it was really touching to meet the alumni and hear their words of thanks and encouragement for the students, and it felt great to be able to be a part of the amazing work that Habitat for Humanity has done and continues to do for the community.”

Working with Habitat made the struggle for safe, clean and affordable housing real, Bozeman said.

“I love that Peter was able to find a cause that went with our production of The Tempest,” he said. “We told the story of one famous storm, then used that to help others affected by another. I am looking forward to planning more creative service opportunities.”