Press Release

Summer Youth Conservatory performs Dickens ‘whodunit’

For the fourth year in a row, PlayMakers Repertory Company, the professional theater in residence at UNC, joins with The ArtsCenter of Carrboro to present a stage production as the culmination of their Summer Youth Conservatory. The conservatory will provide five weeks of theater training beginning June 21.

“Drood” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. July 22-24 and 2 p.m. July 25 in the Paul Green Theatre inside the center, located on Country Club Road. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for PlayMakers subscribers and Friends of The ArtsCenter and $10 for children under 18.


Tickets may be purchased by phone at (919) 962-PLAY (7529), online at or at the Paul Green Theatre Box Office. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and two hours before each performance.


The Summer Youth Conservatory was honored by the North Carolina Theatre Conference (NCTC) with the 2009 Constance Welsh Youth Theatre Award for excellence in performance, service of mission and community outreach. The conference recognized the conservatory as having, “in just three short years … become a model program for youth theatre in North Carolina.”


Created by singer-songwriter-composer Rupert Holmes, “Drood” is based on the last, unfinished novel by master storyteller Charles Dickens. The tale is told with the lighthearted energy of British music hall shows and pantomimes, making it fun for the whole family. “Drood” was the first Broadway musical to introduce multiple endings.


The musical is a play-within-a-play, with a loony Victorian musical troupe staging a flamboyant rendition of the Dickens mystery. The story follows John Jasper, a Jekyll-and-Hyde choirmaster who is madly in love with his student, Miss Rosa Bud. Miss Bud is, in turn, engaged to Jasper’s nephew, young Edwin Drood, who disappears mysteriously one stormy Christmas Eve.


Has he been murdered? And if so, then “whodunit?” Giddy playfulness, song, dance and laughter ensue, with the audience choosing which hilarious finale will end the evening.


The conservatory is an educational and performance opportunity for young people that includes working with professional directors, choreographers and musical directors at PlayMakers.


Besides recruiting young actors, the conservatory offers TheatreTech – an in-depth training program in scenic, costume and lighting design and stage management. This program includes seven days of technical curriculum followed by a month-long apprenticeship with PlayMakers.


This year the conservatory will expand its programming to a full-day format, offering more actor training opportunities by including morning classes in acting, voice and movement, focusing on technique and skill-building.


Tom Quaintance will return to direct “Drood.” Quaintance helmed previous conservatory productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Music Man” and “Oliver!”


Last year he co-directed PlayMakers’ “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” with Joseph Haj, PlayMakers producing artistic director. Quaintance also directed the company’s 2007 and 2008 holiday productions of “The Little Prince.”


PlayMakers is based in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. The Drama League has named the company “one of the best regional theaters in America.” For information about PlayMakers’ 2010-11 season, which begins in September, visit


The ArtsCenter seeks to nourish the arts, creativity and community through education, performance and exhibition. Plays, concerts, classes, art exhibits and more take place at the facility.


Coverage note: Reporters and photographers wishing to cover conservatory sessions and rehearsals should contact Connie Mahan at (919) 428-1744,, or Ed Camp at (919) 929-2787, ext. 217,


PlayMakers contact: Connie Mahan, (919) 428-1744,

The ArtsCenter contact: Ed Camp, (919) 929-2787, ext. 217,