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Lions Announce Bland Contest

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Lions Club announces 2015 Bland competitionThe South Boston Lions Club will host its 2015 James A. Bland Memorial Music Contest in the Chastain Theater at The Prizery at 2 pm on Sunday, January 25. This year’s contest will feature sixteen students from Halifax and Pittsylvania Counties. Each student will perform a piece of classical music. The 2015 competition will feature students performing vocally, playing the violin and performing on The Prizery’s 9-foot concert grand Steinway piano.

One Vocal and one Instrumental winner will each win $300 cash. Second place winners will receive $100. They will then be eligible to compete on the District level for $100 U.S. Savings Bonds for winners and $50 U.S. Savings Bonds for runners-up. District winners will compete at the Lions Club State Convention next May. State winners win a $2,500 scholarship. First and second runners-up receive $2,000 and $1,500 scholarships, respectively. Fourth, fifth, and sixth place receive $1,000 cash.

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Prizery hires Alison Streeter as new managing director

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Alison Streeter, Managing Director of the PrizeryThe Prizery has hired Alison Streeter as its new managing director the board of directors announced Tuesday.  

Streeter worked for the past 12 years at Carlbrook School, where she started as advisory and ended as dean of alumni and transition services.

Her professional theatre experience also includes experience at Wagon Wheel Theatre, Enchanted Hills Playhouse and Brown County Playhouse in Indiana, Seaside Music Theatre in Daytona Beach, Florida, and The Prizery.

"The Community Arts Center Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors is thrilled to have Alison coming on board. Her background in administration and education are a foundation The Prizery can build an exciting future on for our community,” said Blair Toner, president of The Prizery Board of Directors. “A long time goal of The Prizery has always included arts education for the next generations of Halifax County, and Alison's experience can bring a whole new direction to that goal."

The role of a managing director is to optimize The Prizery’s mission and facility use. This requires a close, productive working relationship with its long-time Artistic Director Chris Jones, other staff and community stakeholders.

Streeter follows Pat Anderson-Flowers who recently returned to Birmingham, Alabama.

Streeter is well known in the theatrical community in Halifax County. She served on The Prizery Board of Directors from 2010-2013, acting as president of the organization in 2012. She was also on the board of Halifax County Little Theatre from 2004-2007, again serving as president from 2005-2007. She has appeared in both The Prizery and Halifax County Little Theatre productions.

“I am thrilled to join The Prizery as its new managing director. I have often said that Carlbrook School brought me here over 12years ago, but The Prizery and the people I’ve met through volunteering with Halifax County Little Theatre and The Prizery have kept me here. As the child of musicians, I grew up with the arts and have never ceased to be involved at some level. The opportunity to be able to work full time in the arts is truly a dream come true. Our local community has embraced me over the years and made me feel extremely welcome. I feel honored and privileged to join The Prizery team and help cultivate the arts in Halifax County for years to come.” said Streeter.

She will begin her fulltime duties on Jan. 5.

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Hot Summer Theatre Lineup

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Summer's Hot Theatre Shows Coming to the Prizery

SummerTheatreby Vicky Morrison - Danville Register and Bee

The fifth season of The Prizery of South Boston’s Summer Theatre will present two blockbuster hits: “Hairspray” and “Les Miserables.”

Prizery artistic director Christopher Jones is the director and set and light designer for this season. Jones said that more than 800 kids auditioned in Mobile, Alabama, to be a part of the Summer Theatre program. An audition was held for the South Boston to find local talent, too.

Sixty participants are involved in both productions. Thirty of them are from South Boston, Danville and Clarksville. Others came from many states, including Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and New York.
Jones and musical director April Hill chose the actors. Multiple young professionals from colleges were hired to contribute their theatre skills to the productions. Colleges represented include East Carolina University, Longwood College, University of Kentucky, Moorehead State University, Averett University, Radford University, Belmont, Berry College and Elon University.

Approximately a dozen local families host the college students. Many of the students are hired as painters, lighting crew, costumers or singers and dancers. “One of the things that I’m most excited about,” Jones explained, “is seeing young children have the opportunity to be mentored by young professionals.” Jones identifies the program as a positive educational arts experience for all skill levels from novice to standing at the cusp of entering the competitive commercial arts world.


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Upscale theater meets small town charm

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The Prizery has become a cultural hub of Southside Virginia enticing art-loving tourists.

elvis-becky-workitsovaWhen entering The Prizery, the building still has the look and feel of an aging tobacco warehouse with some of the crop's history — and the role it played in Halifax County — lining the walls with pictures, dates and information.

However, by just turning one corner of the hallway, guests are taken somewhere else entirely.

"You walk around the corner and you say 'Oh my gosh' and there is the theater space," said Chris Jones, The Prizery's artistic director. "People aren't expecting to see that. That is the wow factor."

The 250-seat Chastain Theatre is just part of the 38,000-square-foot building that is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places as part of the South Boston Historic Tobacco Warehouse District. The Prizery, which once served as a tobacco warehouse, is now a lively center for the arts attracting thousands of visitors from outside the area each year.

It is believed that the building was constructed in the late 1800s by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. and it was of similar structure that it is today. The basement was used for manufacturing the 1,000 pound tobacco barrels where the tobacco was "prized" — pressed layer by layer into the hogshead barrels. The first floor was used for storage and the second floor was for pickups and drop offs and the top floor was for drying the tobacco.

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Big crowd turns out for Bland Contest

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0204blandBefore an almost standing-room-only crowd, 17-year-old harpist Katherine Elizabeth Campbell of Danville’s George Washington High School and Caleb Anthony Flowers, a 15-year-old home-schooled countertenor from Clover, each took home $300 after winning the South  Boston Lions Club’s Annual James Bland Memorial Music Contest Friday night at The Prizery

Runners-up were pianist Asher Brandon Caplan, 15, also of George Washington High School, and baritone Thomas Paul Freeman. Freeman, home-schooled, is 18 and from Alton.

This was Flowers’ third win in as many years, previously singing as a soprano. Flowers sang “Caro Mio Ben” by Giuseppe Giordani, and Campbell played Handel’s “Concerto in B flat major.” 

Freeman sang Mozart’s “Vogelfänger bin ich ja.

Caplan played “Prelude in C sharp minor” by Rachmaninoff.

Flowers is a student of Dr. Christopher Swanson. Campbell is taught by Laura Byrne, Freeman by Samuel Howell and Caplan by Dianne Collie.

Somewhere around 250 music lovers witnessed the contest. Each paid an admission fee of one pair of used eyeglasses.

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