The Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA), a nationally acclaimed collaboration between the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theatre professionals, and the community, offers a supportive learning environment dedicated to the development of students and community members as they learn the art of theatre. Jim Hammond, artistic and managing director of GTA, talks about the creation of GTA and its role within the University of North Georgia.
How was GTA created?
In 1979, Gainesville College and Brenau combined their theatre programs and established the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. This new program was under the leadership of Ed Cabell, and I was a senior that year performing in GTA’s first production, “The Crucible.” In the last 33 years, GTA has grown from 17 majors, two faculty members, and one theatre, to 150 majors, 15 faculty and staff, and five theatre venues. GTA has been honored at the Kennedy Center as “a model theatre program,” and received the ACE Award from the American Council on Education for “Academic Excellence and Cost Management.”
What role does GTA play in the community and education in the arts?
This year, more than 25,000 people from 15 north Georgia counties will experience 117 performances of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. Those performances range from main-stage productions of “The Producers” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” to Touring Repertory Company productions of “Macbeth” and “Monsters under the Bed,” to our new professional company (GTA Southern Stage) productions in Buford of “The 7-Shot Symphony” and “The 39” Steps. The Georgia Council for the Arts consistently ranks GTA at or near the top of all state arts organizations for our quality of work and service to the community.
How does GTA benefit students and the community?
While serving the community by providing quality theatre experiences that educate, inspire and unite, GTA’s primary mission is educating and training our students to become future leaders in their profession. Close to 30 percent of our students receive graduate assistantships to continue their training at universities across the country including Yale, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Our latest study shows that 85 percent of our graduates since 1990 are currently working professionally as actors, directors, designers, or teachers of theatre at the high school and university levels.
For more info on GTA and upcoming performances, please visit www.gainesvilletheatrealliance.org.