After a year marked by COVID-19-related delays and performance restrictions, the South Arkansas Arts Center is excited to announce a full season of live theatrical events, with performances beginning this summer. While the center has remained open throughout the year for classes, exhibits, small performances, and lectures, community theatre productions have been delayed throughout the pandemic. After consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health, the SAAC theatre steering committee and board of directors has crafted an extended 2021-2022 theatrical season, with performances of “Steel Magnolias” kicking off the season in early summer.

“Because of restrictions on live singing and audience size, operations at the SAAC theatre have been greatly reduced over the last year,” said theatre steering committee chairman Jim Yates. “Our volunteer-led group is extremely ready to get back on the stage in a way that will keep both our actors and our audience safe and entertained.”

The season will begin with a two-week run of the classic Southern dramedy “Steel Magnolias,” written by Robert Harling. Sponsored by Murphy USA, the show will run June 17-20, 24-27. The beloved story centers on the lives of six women in the fictional Chinquapin, Louisiana beauty shop of Truvy Jones and her eager new assistant, Annelle. Her friends and clients include the eccentric millionaire Clairee, kindly curmudgeon Ouiser, social leader M’Lynn, and her daughter Shelby. Following their stories over several years, the play is built on a framework of love and resilience.

In October 2021, mystery is afoot at SAAC with the production of “Clue,” based on Jonathan Lynn’s screenplay for the 1985 movie and inspired by the classic board game of the same name. Join Miss Scarlet, Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Wadsworth the butler to solve the eternal question of whodunit…and where…and with what. The show will run October 22-24, 29-31.

Spring 2022 will see an all-star SAAC revival of “Nunsense,” March 4-6, 10-12. A madcap romp through a fundraiser produced by the fictional Little Sisters of Hoboken, the show combines zany comedy with stellar musical numbers-all performed by just five actresses. First performed in SAAC’s Callaway Theatre in 1997, the show holds a special place in the heart of our community and will feature several members of the original cast.

Finally, the season will close with a spectacular summer musical, when “Mamma Mia!” takes the stage July 14-17, 20-24, 2022. The jukebox musical featuring the songs of ABBA has been long-anticipated by the area’s singers, dancers, and musicians, and will be sponsored by Murphy USA.

As large group events relaunch throughout the region, SAAC will continue to consult with the Arkansas Department of Health and follow their guidance when planning for the safety of everyone involved in each production, including staff, volunteers, and audience.