Archived Story

Arts Council brings free showing of To Kill a Mockingbird

Published 3:56pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Admission to the Virginia-Samford Theatre production of To Kill A Mockingbird will be free on Sept. 29 when the Alexander City Arts Council hosts the cast and crew for a matinee performance at the Benjamin Russell High School Auditorium. Arts Council president Karen Kison made the announcement last week during the organization’s regularly scheduled board meeting.
“I am happy to say that with the help of Mayor Charles Shaw and a number of public officials in our area, the performance will be free to the public,” Kison said. “With their help, we have raised more than $5,000 to cover the cost of the production, so we will not need to charge admissions.”
Patron members will receive preferential seating and an invitation to a brunch at Ballard Farm before the performance, she said.
Kison also described a schedule of related activities that will take place in the week preceding the performance, including a civil rights trivia contest, an art contest for students, scholarship opportunities, a presentation at the Adelia M. Russell Library and a civil rights conversation following the show.
The production, based on Harper Lee’s literary masterpiece and the award-winning film by the same name, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, Kison said, noting that a number of Alabama civil rights events changed the course of our nation’s history.
“We wanted to bring this production to our local stage, because the Civil Rights Movement changed our world, yet so many people who did not live through that time don’t understand the impact it had. To Kill A Mockingbird is an example of great literature, and it brings alive for us what it was like for everyday people to stand up and be willing to die for what they believed,” she said. “It is amazing the way the whole community has gotten behind this production with the trivia contest, the scholarships and literary presentation at the library.”
Events will kick off relatively quietly Monday morning when local media outlets will release the first of five trivia questions. Though The Outlook does not publish a newspaper on Mondays, the question will be posted on the website at and on  The Outlook’s Facebook page. The question also will be broadcast through local radio and television stations.
A new question will be posed each day through Friday, Sept. 27, and the first person to call Mayor Shaw’s office (256-329-6730 between 9 and 11 a.m. only each day) with the correct answer will be entered in a drawing to be held after the performance Sept. 29. The winner will receive a certificate for dinner for two at a local restaurant, Kison said.
At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, Alabama Humanities Foundation’s Nancy Anderson will discuss some of the myths, both serious and humorous, surrounding the novel at the Adelia M. Russell Library.
Anderson, an associate professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery, teaches American literature surveys and Southern literature classes and has published works about a number of noted Southern writers, including Mockingbird’s author Harper Lee, whom she first met in 1983.
Art contest submissions by area school children will be on display at City Hall Tuesday through Friday. The art will be moved to the BRHS Auditorium and will be displayed there during the Virginia-Samford production.
Winners of the art and trivia contests will be announced following the performance, though participants do not need to be present to win.
Art contest winners will receive $100, $50 or $25 for first, second and third prizes, respectively.
Local attorneys and elected officials will sit in the jury box during the production and afterwards will conduct a discussion of the historic civil rights events and their implications with audience members.
Drawings for two $100 scholarships also will take place following the play.
Mayor Shaw will sponsor one of the scholarships, and the arts council will sponsor the other. Students can enter the drawing prior to show.
Non-patron seating for the production will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Free admission for these seats was made possible through contributions from local attorneys Thomas Radney, Larkin Radney, Jim Clinton, Faye Edmundson, Randy Haynes and Larry Morris, judges Kim Taylor and Tom Young and Tallapoosa County commissioners Steve Robinson and T.C. Coley.
The patron seating section will be held until 15 minutes prior to the start of the show.
Patron tickets are still available from arts council members for the 2013-14 season.
Patron members receive a ticket to each production of the season and are invited to a reception before each production.
For more information, call Karen Kison at 256-212-1486 or email her at