ART BEAT: New London Theatre hosts 'Arts in Snellville Extravaganza -- Holiday Edition'

The day after Thanksgiving is best known for being the day when many people launch their holiday shopping, often waiting in long lines for parking spaces and their turn at the cash register. Wouldn't it be nice, wondered the folks at New London Theatre in Snellville, if people would stand in line that weekend to see a fabulous production showcasing our local performing and visual artists?

"Over the past several months, there has been a growing movement across Gwinnett to expand and embrace the arts," said Dawn Berlo, New London Theatre's Chairwoman. "As the only community theatre in Snellville, New London Theatre felt that it should take the initiative to showcase the best that our city has to offer."

"The Arts in Snellville Extravaganza -- Holiday Edition" will take place at 8 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in New London Theatre's facility at 2485 E. Main St. in Snellville. The event, which is a fundraiser for the theater, promises an arts experience of dancing, singing, acting and a silent auction of fine art juried by artist Donna Dixon. Tickets are $10 per person for the entire evening.

The theater group wants to show the community that they have a desire to be one of the cornerstones of the arts in the area. "Someone needed to take action because Snellville has so much life and talent," Berlo said. "We want the event to be a mix of not only people who have been on New London Theatre's stage, but also those who don't necessarily have their own venue to showcase their talent."

New London Theatre is also offering the show in gratitude for the positive response they recently received when a financial shortfall almost closed their doors. "With the outpouring of support from the community, we felt it was our duty to put this show together," she said.

Thus far the roster of performers includes Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, who will offer a special "Nutcracker" preview on Nov. 25, plus performers from New London's stable of singers and actors. Jesse Farmer, Gretchen Gordon and Bryan Lewis will offer holiday songs, and there will be a preview of New London Theatre's "A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show."

"We guarantee to have an excellent night of music, dancing, singing and a silent auction of works from several local artists," Berlo said. "Also, if you have a talent you'd like to share, please contact me at dawn.berlo@newlondontheatre.org. Our hope is to be able to give more and more people the opportunity to share their talents with the community.

"The plan is for this to be a semi-annual event with one around the holidays and another during the spring," she said.

Tickets are available through the website, www.newlondontheatre.org, or at the door before each performance. For more information, call 770-559-1484.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com.