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CCT cast, crew get a “thank you”

Emotions ran high Thursday night at an exclusive appreciation party for the Colleton Children’s Theater (CCT) cast and crew, a-first-of-its-kind, sponsored by the Colleton County Arts Council.

“We feel very honored to be here, and to be given the opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments and to relish in the talents that our community’s children bring to the stage,” said Tripp Campbell, a co-director of the children’s theater. Campbell began with the theater as a child actor: the most recent CCT production of “101 Dalmations” was the CCT’s 23rd community play. Campbell and fellow co-director Dave Nay assist original CCT Director Jenny Bunton. They are supported by a volunteer crew of more than 15 people.

“Our goal is to give the kids a venue for them to continue to grow,” said Nay. “We don’t want any child of any age in our community to be afraid to be a part of our theater family,” added Campbell. “We want more youth to know there’s a place for them here,” added Bunton, specifically saying that not all children are athletic or are academic scholars. “We give children a place to meet others who are artistic, and we have seen what can happen to children who may suffer from a social or mental handicap … we have children with obstacles in their lives, and they blossom at the children’s theater.”

Despite it being an appreciation dinner for them, all of the CCT’s cast and crew constantly praised the childhood actors of their productions, and eagerly discussed ways to prepare for their next big show.

A large part of the CCT’s behind-the-scenes talent is the artistic genius of Cathy Hunter and Suzanne and Pat Morley. Hunter creates the costumes, while the Morleys design and construct all of the play’s scenic landscapes and designs. Along with Bunton, the Morleys are part of the original crew who first created the children’s theater. When asked how they continue to stay creative, Pat Morley laughed and said, “She’s a naturally creative person,” pointing at wife, Suzanne. “My wife is my muse … I stay creative because of her. But we have been together for so long that we have one brain and that continues to supply us with a creative flow.”

“The children keep me creative,” Suzanne Morley said, smiling.

CCAC Director Kim Bridge said she decided to give the children’s theater crew an appreciation dinner because “they deserved it,” she said. “They give constantly and year-after-year to our children and to our community. They deserved a formal thank you, and a chance to take a few minutes and just be appreciated without work attached,” she said.

The event was held at Time Out in Walterboro, with about 15 of the CCT members in attendance.

The amount of talent that our county produces is astounding … we have children applying to the Governor’s School of the Arts and at least who left us for Broadway,” said Jenny Bunton, director of the CCT.