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Celebrating our inaugural production 39 years ago today!

As we look forward to resuming shows with our 40th season, we gratefully look back at those who enabled the first show. These are excerpts from the NEWS-LEADER's May 20, 1981 article "Curtain Call/Players Anxiously Await First Production" by Mary Hurt.

On Friday, May 29, at the Fernandina Beach Woman's Club, when the lights dim and the cast of "Butterflies Are Free" are having butterflies themselves, the first production of Amelia Community Theatre will be underway.

Leading up to that opening night excitement is a lot of hard work by a lot more people than just that nervous cast....

Carolyn Croft, who is responsible for set decoration, and technical director Bill Mason, have worked with set construction chief, Ashley Hurt, to produce the set. Building the set...were Jack Coker, H.W. Patterson, Jim Guldi, Ron Alverez, John Spence and Charles Horton. Mason's students will be helping to paint it. In charge of lighting are Eugene Stidfole and John Spence.

Providing props to place on the stage and in the cast's hands is the responsibility of Carol Wyatt and her committee. Gathering everything from Marvel cigarettes to an antique tub were Ralph Wood, Betsey Wray, Eve Fox, Ron Alvarez, Jackie Harding, Kelly Harding, and Joe Bock.

Preparing the program to place in the audience's hands has been the on-going task of the program committee with Selma Corbisiero, Pam Selton, Carol Floyd, Mary Evelyn Wood. Selling ads have been Lou Owens and Jane Garbarini. Frank James and Emelia Wright will handle the graphics.

Anni Moller, a local artist, has designed a for the program will be by Liza Willets.

Kristi Alvarez and her committee are in charge of all areas of house management from box office to ushers. Some of these workers include Renia Bayer, Debbie Huddock, Ruth Hutto, Ken Owens, Jean Powell, Cindy Kimball, Lou Coker, Joe Gargarini, Jan Higginbotham, Peggy Horton, Sandy Prescott, Anne Coonrod, Mary Cole, Mary Jane Cushman, Terry Trower and Gina Taylor.

Publicity for a new venture is always challenging and fun. Public Relations Committee members include Linda McClane, Mary Hurt, Debbie Melnyk, Jack Coker, Sue Alexander, and Mary Lou Freeman.

Meanwhile the cast continues to rehearse- sometimes at the high school and sometimes at Whitney Hall in St. Peter's Episcopal Church....

The cast features Carl Merkle and Elisa Hurt, with Bill Mason and Mary Hurt. Ellen Green is the director, Gage Powell and Dianne Williams, the stage managers. Not only does the director work with the actors but she helps the producer, Dr. Ed. Green, her husband, to coordinate all this activity.

Tickets for "Butterflies Are Free" are now on sale. Shows will be May 29 at 8:00 p.m.; Dinner Theatre at 6:00 p.m., May 30; and closing performance at 8:00 p.m., Sunday, May 31. Tickets are available from ticket chairman, Vicki Spence...or from the Chamber of Commerce or Mary Lou Freeman at Amelia Plantation.

Thank you to all of those who have sweat, sacrificed, memorized, created, invited, sold, told, directed, donated, and so much more to build Amelia Community Theatre.

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