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Swash-buckling pirates to take over GTA's WonderQuest stage

2018-09-03-SophieandThePirates
Family performances of "Sophie and The Pirates" will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29 and Oct. 5 and 6 and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30. All performances will be in the historic Pearce Auditorium on Brenau University's campus at 202 Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia. Tickets are $12-$15 for adults and seniors and $8-$10 for students and children, depending on seat location. Theater patrons may purchase and select their own seats online or by calling the GTA Box Office at 678-717-3624.

About 15 years ago, Gay Hammond's daughter was about to graduate from high school and move on to college. To mark the milestone, the director of the WonderQuest Theatre decided to put pen to paper and write "Sophie and The Pirates."

"I was thinking about goodbyes and change," Hammond said. "So this is an adventure story about discovering what's out in the world and discovering what's inside yourself, too."

This fall, WonderQuest will reprise "Sophie and The Pirates" to launch the 2018-19 season of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA), which is a nationally acclaimed collaboration between the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, theater professionals and the northeast Georgia community. WonderQuest is GTA's Theatre for Young Audiences with productions geared for elementary school children.

"WonderQuest is the best of the theater world to me," said Hammond, who will direct "Sophie and The Pirates." "It is a wild and interesting connection to the audience, because the children are free to respond openly. They are an engaged audience. And it reminds me how fabulous theater can be."

"Sophie and The Pirates" features a young girl who longs for adventure on the high seas, but gets more than she bargained for when she is scooped up by a gang of wacky pirates. During her time on the ship, she learns how to be a sailor, how to chase and fight a wicked pirate lady and how to be a good captain. Most of all she learns the biggest adventure is finding yourself.

Family performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29 and Oct. 5 and 6 and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30. All performances will be in the historic Pearce Auditorium on Brenau University's campus at 202 Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia.

Tickets are $12-$15 for adults and seniors and $8-$10 for students and children, depending on seat location. Theater patrons may purchase and select their own seats online or by calling the GTA Box Office at 678-717-3624.

A free stage tour for a peek behind the scenes will be 6 p.m. Sept. 18. Attendees will hear from Hammond, GTA's lighting coordinator Terri Becker, guest scenic designer Nicholas Hilliard, and guest costume designer William Mellette. Mellette is a professional costume designer in New York City as well as a UNG and Brenau graduate. He received his associate degree from UNG and finished his bachelor's degree at Brenau in 2006. He moved to New York the same year.

"I'm so excited to have William back, because he has been out in the world working for quite a long time," Hammond said. "It's interesting to see how he has grown as a theater artist and what he now brings to our audience."

Audience members also will have a chance to meet the cast and crew a few more times preceding or following performances. A meet-the-actors reception will follow the Sept. 28 production, and a free ice cream social will follow the Sept. 30 date. For $5, children and adults may attend a "Walk-the-Plank Pirate Party" at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6.

Following the WonderQuest production of "Sophie and The Pirates," GTA will present "The Wizard of Oz." Sell-out crowds are expected, and theater enthusiasts are encouraged to buy tickets sooner rather than later.

For more information, visit the GTA website.

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