South City Theatre group wins state competition

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Clay Boyce, director of “Driving Miss Daisy” at the South City Theatre, never thought about entering his performers in a competition.

For Boyce and the cast of the show, wowing crowds at the Alabaster theatre provided the most satisfaction they could ask for.

“We presented the show in March, and the executive director of the Alabama Conference of Theatre, Sue Ellen Gerrells, came to see the show,” Boyce said. “She asked if I had ever thought about entering the show into a competition, and I said no.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get the actors back, and you have to trim the show to an hour for the competition,” he added. “But she said she thought this show would be perfect for the competition.”

Gerrells’ bit of prodding paid off for Boyce and the show’s staff, as they were awarded first place at the competition, which was held Oct. 22 in Pell City. South City Theatre shared the top honors with the Wetumpka Depot Players, who presented “Second Samuel.”

“The competition added six more rehearsals and three more performances for us,” Boyce said, noting they competed against five other performing groups at the Alabama competition. “It was a lot of extra work, but it was good work.”

During the play, the South City Theatre actors portrayed the story of Daisy Werthan, an elderly white woman from Atlanta, and her relationship with her black chauffer, Hoke Colburn.

Carole Armistead, who portrayed Daisy in the play, won the Best Actress award during the competition.

Before the competition, the South City actors also toured the show in Pell City, Boyce said.

“Winning the competition was really a thrill. The actors put in so much work, and it’s good to see that vindicated,” Boyce said. “To have three adjudicators from all over the state say that our show was excellent was really a thrill.”

Because the South City Theatre group took home top honors in the Alabama competition, they will now move on to the regional competition in Atlanta in March 2011. If the group wins the regional competition, they will move on to the national competition in New York.

“We will be competing against all of the other Southern states at the regional competition. There are 16 other shows involved in this one,” Boyce said.

Boyce said the performers will take a break before preparing for the regional competition.

“Since the competition isn’t until March, I wanted to give them time to cool off and relax a little bit before we start it up again,” he said.