Foothills Playhouse to Synergize with Mill Town Players

L to R: Maurice Reed, Lisa Spears, Will Ragland, Donna Duffie, and Easley Mayor Larry Bagwell

STAFF REPORT

Seeking consistent artistic leadership in a time of financial challenges, Foothills Playhouse in Easley has united with Mill Town Players in Pelzer.

Will Ragland, Executive Artistic Director of Mill Town Players, has been appointed Executive Artistic Director of Foothills Playhouse on a volunteer basis for the 2018-19 season by the board of directors.

Ragland will oversee day-to-day operations, making artistic and financial decisions for the organization while ensuring quality and affordable live theater experiences that feature local talent for the Easley community.

Over the course of the next year season, plans will be put into place to transition operations of Foothills Playhouse to Mill Town Players. The transfer will be completed in time for the 2019-2020 season, and under  the new name of Mill Town Players at Foothills Playhouse.

Foothills Playhouse, located in the Historic West End Hall in downtown Easley, was founded in 1981 but attendance has dropped off over the last few years.

“As a community theater, the organization has affected countless lives and has significantly added to the economy and quality of life of the citizens of Easley,” said Ragland. “I am honored and delighted to help Foothills Playhouse continue to achieve its potential.”

His main goal will be to engage the community with shows they want to see for families and youth.

“Expect great things,” said Ragland.

The previously announced slate of shows for the 2018-19 season will be reworked and a new season reveal is expected in the coming weeks.

Foothills Playhouse will be rebranded with a new logo and website, and ticket prices will be reduced from $15 to $12 with additional discounts for seniors, military, and students.

Blake Sanders, Planning and Projects manager for the City of Easley and Mayor of West Pelzer, first connected the board of Foothills Playhouse with Ragland to initiate the discussion of collaboration.

Lisa Spears, CEO of the board of Foothills Playhouse, told the Anderson Independent Mail, that the Playhouse’s “limited budget makes it difficult to stage some of the bigger, more popular productions” and that she would like to build theater back up in the community.”

An active member of the Upstate theater community for 23 years with some 110 productions to his credit (including acting roles at Foothills Playhouse), Ragland founded the award-winning Mill Town Players In 2014 and the company has quickly become one of the most-attended community theaters in the state with annual attendance exceeding 33,000.

 

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