Arts Council to revive community theatre program

By Jeff Shultz

Publisher

Renee Myler has been entertaining audiences since she was in the first grade.

“It’s a real thrill to look out at people and see the joy and excitement on their faces when you’re connecting through song, dance or word,” she told the News Star.

Myler and a group of local talent are striving to revive the Pauls Valley Arts Council’s Theatre program.

“I’ve loved theater ever since I was in grade school.  I took dance as a young girl and I’ve been singing since I’ve been able to talk,” she said.

Myler recalls her first performance in the first grade. Her teacher had gone to the superintendent’s office so Myler, who had been taking dance and singing lessons, jumped up on the teacher’s desk and began singing and dancing for her classmates.

“Unbeknownst to me, the intercom was on and my ‘performance’ was heard by all!

Since then she has been entertaining people just about anywhere she lives. 

Myler, who grew up in Pauls Valley, moved back to her hometown a little over two years ago and has been pondering the idea of reviving the program.

“When the Arts Council had their last ‘brain storming’ meeting, I was ill so I asked Susie Agee and Rita Hines to bring up my idea to the meeting,” she said.

The arts council was excited about the possibility of bringing back the once popular program. 

“Pauls Valley is a very supportive community with regard to activities that will promote our town and provide fun and entertainment to the citizens of our community,” she said, noting that many people in the area travel to Ardmore, OKC and even Dallas for bigger theatre productions.

“Having Community Theater here gives people another avenue to enjoy creativity,” she said.

Plans are in the works to rebuild the program from the ground up, leading to some full-scale productions.

The first event for the new theatre group will be during the PVAC’s fifth Friday art walk on May 31.

“We will have people performing an excerpt from Steel Magnolias.  There will also be a Shakespearean monologue, a duet from the musical ‘Mame’ and a solo piece from the musical ‘Porgy and Bess,’” she said.

There will also be a table set up at the art walk to get information from the public as to what they would like in a community theatre program.

In the summer there will be art intensives aimed for both adults and children.

“These intensives will provide five days of theater and music training, culminating in a small production at the end of the training,” Myler said.

The workshops and other activities will lead to the group’s first full scale production sometime in late August.

“We will be performing the Putnam County Spelling Bee. This production calls for audience participation, so I think it will great fun for everyone and it’s an ideal opening production,” she said.

Other plans include a production of “Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” in December plus a spring production and some outdoor productions in the park and a dinner theater.

“It’s my desire to have two large scale productions a year with smaller shows interspersed throughout the year,” Myler said.

And there are some bigger future plans for the arts council and the theatre program.

“We plan to refurbish the upstairs of the old City Hall and put in seating and lighting to accommodate rehearsals and small venues, such as one person or two people monologues or soliloquies, vocal and instrumental acts, comedy acts, magic acts, and open mic nights.”

The Arts Council desires to bring a diverse sampling of creativity and entertainment to our town as well as offering those outside of Pauls Valley opportunities to come have fun, experience talented and creative individuals, all while promoting our town, she noted  

“I foresee that people will drive from all areas to come and enjoy what we have to offer. “

Shortly after the Pauls Valley Arts Council formed in 2004, the theatre program was created. 

The program had several productions such as “Don’t Drink The Water” and “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.” 

After three or four years the program waned due to several of the founding members either moving away from Pauls Valley or having other priorities where they couldn’t be a part of the program.

“One thing about Community Theater is the fact that it is a lot of hard work,” Myler said.  “It’s a year-round task, planning, preparing, organizing, rehearsing, promoting and encouraging.”  

“Those involved and committed do it because they are passionate about it.  They enjoy it.  And that’s the way it should be. We do it because we love it and when people see and feel that, they will too.”

For more information on the PVAC’s theatre program contact Myler at jreneemyler@gmail.com.

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