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Millsaps College Announces Theatre Partnership with Arts Center of Mississippi

by Web on December 3, 2018

Millsaps College Theatre will be the Theatre Company in Residence at the Arts Center of Mississippi in downtown Jackson.

The announcement came during a Nov. 29 press conference about interior renovations planned for the Center at 201 E. Pascagoula St. Millsaps will partner with the Greater Jackson Arts Council, which is the official arts agency for the city of Jackson and Hinds County.

Space in the Arts Center will be available for Millsaps theatre classes, rehearsals, productions, and more.

“This new partnership is in direct alignment with the mission and strategic plan for Millsaps College, and reinforces the value of our location in Jackson,” said Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps. “With the Arts Center just two miles from our campus, our students will have new opportunities to engage, experience, learn, and contribute to the broader community.”

Peter Friedrich, assistant professor of theatre at Millsaps, echoed Pearigen’s comments.

We cannot wait to see the changes to come with our students using the Arts Center,” he said. “Experiential learning and community engagement present challenges where no book can prepare you and no expert can advise you. It is about becoming your own expert. That’s the thrill of it, and why it can change your life.”

The partnership with the Arts Center will give Millsaps students the opportunity to explore different venues and create new spaces for theatre. Spencer Ellswood, a Millsaps senior and an integral part of the Millsaps theatre program as a set designer and builder, looks forward to working downtown.

“It's exciting to see such influential people come together to create culture in the heart of Jackson,” said Ellswood. “The opportunities here are not only for Jackson and the Arts Center but also for the students at Millsaps. With theatre’s new connection with the Center, the students as well as the community will grow together.”

The Community Foundation of Mississippi is providing a $250,000 grant from the John F. and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund as launch money for Phase 1 renovations that include enhancements to all public spaces in the facility, including a Shackelford Permanent Collection Gallery and a Shackelford Community Room.

Renovations for an all-access theatre are scheduled as part of Phase 2, although the Theatre Department will begin using the existing space beginning early next year.

Photo: CDFL Architects + Engineers