“Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing. That’s why I’m glad I’m here, maybe I can do something about it.” – Kris Kringle, Miracle on 34th Street
BY MEREDITH POWELL
When Jimmy Ward established the Crabpot Players in 1993, it was something he did for fun in his spare time, but with all of his theater company’s East of the Cooper success, he continues to pursue his hobby for both local audiences and actors.
Jimmy did not realize his true passion until college when his then-girlfriend insisted that he direct a one-act play in the school’s annual competition. Theater was a whirlwind after that; he received phone calls from the university’s theater director with personal invitations to audition in plays, and he received prestigious awards.
Jimmy has written a number of plays since his college days, including Mayberry by the Sea, which he produced for the City of Isle of Palms’ 50th anniversary, an Alabama drama called Auburn Bliss, and Brother Bill and A Hunley Christmas, both of which he produced for Pure Theatre.
What began almost as an experiment inside of the Windjammer has since moved to its permanent spot at the Isle of Palms Recreation Center in January of 2009. Thanks to the gracious staff at the Rec.Department, Jimmy and his actors have a free place to rehearse and perform. Even with all of the company’s growth, one thing has not changed: the ticket prices are still $5, just as they were in the very beginning, and shows sell out regularly.
It is not about the fame or the recognition for Jimmy. He puts his heart and soul into the company and greatly appreciates the amount of artistic freedom he has with all parties involved. Aside from gladly fulfilling the role as the sole teacher, he also purchases all of the necessary materials for the costumes and sets and stores them in a shed in the backyard of his Isle of Palms home. But this does not mean he refuses help as he embraces assistance from his young volunteers, like set designer Dave Melsopp and sound and light technician Colin Buckhannon.
Auditions for the upcoming Miracle on 34th Street production are to be held on Monday, October 18, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the IOP Rec. Center. “I strongly encourage island residents to audition,” said Jimmy, even those with little or no experience. He is looking to fill about 40 roles for adults and children, including small roles and help behind the scenes with set construction, costume design, carpentry and painting.
For those not interested in auditioning, there is another way to participate: as a part of the audience. The shows will run from December 8 through 11 and the play is sure to be a great kick start to the holiday season!
For more information about the Crabpot Players, future productions or to audition, contact Founder and Director Jimmy Ward at 754-0813 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.crabpotplayers.com.