Picayune on Stage: Theater group searching for permanent home
Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 28, 2015
Thirty-five years ago the founding members of Picayune on Stage met in a home on 5th Street. Since then, the group has met in a variety of locations but now they are looking for a permanent home.
In the late 1980’s, the group held rehearsals and plays in a building that has since been demolished at Friendship Park.
“The members did all the renovating work,” Picayune on Stage president Bonnie Hughes said. “Group members are also responsible for theater and concession set up and set and costume design.”
In 2004, the city of Picayune tore down the building that housed the theater room at Friendship Park and the group rented a building on W. Canal St., Hughes said. That theater was demolished in 2013.
The group currently rehearses at Hide-a-Way Lake. The actors are comprised of the young and old and perform mainly dinner theater productions. They perform musicals, comedies and dramas at Hide-a-Way Lake and Picayune’s Knights of Columbus building.
Debbie Craig handles public relations for Picayune on Stage and said that Picayune is the only town in the immediate area that does not have a theater.
“Poplarville, Bay St. Louis and Slidell perform great shows and a great service,” Craig said. “We are struggling without a place to call home. I know people enjoy our plays and it’s time for us to get a home.”
The group has created a GoFundMe account to raise funds for a down payment on a warehouse type building in order to convert it into a theater.
“A community theater isn’t just for plays,” Craig said. “With a permanent facility, we could host acting and writing workshops, GPAC meetings and after school theater programs. It’s an all cultural boost and an important entity to the community.”
Russell Wagner, construction director, is the self-proclaimed “bored engineer that’s retired.”
“I was asked to build a set in either 1983 or 1984 and I’ve also acted in a few plays,” Wagner said. “I would be bored to death if I didn’t have something like this to do.”
Former nurse Jessica Lacour had never stepped on a stage in her life before she met Gladys Hughes.
“One night she asked me to come and read with Bonnie and I’m now on my 18th production,” Lacour said. “Gladys saved my life for the past 10 years. I never thought I could be this creative, this theater group has opened a whole new world for me.”
At 91-years-old, Gladys Hughes is the oldest member and has acted and or directed in more than 75 shows.
“I love Picayune on Stage,” Gladys said with tears of joy in her eyes. “It has kept me going all these years and is a big part of my life. I memorize lines to keep my mind sharp.”
Picayune on Stage meets the first Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Family Furniture located at 3305 Hwy. 11 N. For more information, contact Bonnie or Gladys Hughes at 601-799-1714.
Follow the group on Facebook at Picayune on Stage Theater Group for performance and audition information.
Tickets for non-dinner theatre productions cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students. Dinner theater tickets are $33.
The GoFundMe account can be found at www.gofundme.com/mydjqk.
Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1987, Picayune, MS 39466.