Corinth Theatre-Arts has grown to be one of the most outstanding community theatres in Mississippi in only 40+ short years. When it was formed in March, 1968, it was organized to present theatre, concerts, art exhibits, and other art related areas to the Corinth-Alcorn community. One of the prime movers behind the founding of CT-A was H. L. “Sandy” Williams who was president of the Corinth-Alcorn Area Chamber of Commerce in 1968. Original Board of Directors were: A. H. “Lon” Taylor, Jr., President, O.R.’Sammy’ Smith, Jr., Secretary, Dr. E.A.’Boogie’ White, III, Treasurer, Mrs. Doug Hammond, Liddon McPeters, Mrs. Maury Whitfield, John Henderson, A. B. Isbell and Mrs. Ellis Perry. The first membership drive was held Aug. 1-15 with sponsors paying $100, patrons $30 and season members $7.50 per ticket. The first production, “The Egg and I”, opened on September 26, 1968.
Corinth Theatre-Arts used numerous school auditoriums for their stage space until 1972. The Tri-State Fair Association had ceased using exhibit buildings on the city-owned Fairgrounds land and Mayor John D. Mercier wondered if Corinth Theatre-Arts might make use of them as a permanent playhouse. Cyrill Mallett - a New Yorker who had been hired as resident director, led a volunteer crew in adapting the structures (by scrounging materials) into the Crossroads Playhouse. Mallett returned to New York, however, before directing a single play. The first presentation in the new playhouse was “Of Mice and Men” in March, 1973.
Corinth Theatre-Arts has had many talented directors, both guest and resident. Sylvia Beasley, Ron Hamilton, Cyrill Mallett, Max Young, Conchita Wallace, Mavis Labas, Mark Wagner, Marty Hansen, Hud Hickman, Lynn West, Kathryn Hill, Lynn Wroten, Rae Marsh, Bob Carver, Jo Anderson, Frank Chapin, Raymond Burgin, Mary Ann Rodman, Marshall St. Clair, Scott Conley, Larry Cox, Will Stutts, David Moore, Tamsie West, Murray Chase, Chris Wooten, Autry Davis, Joan Hazel, Myra Byrnes, Jennifer Winters, Petey Pace, Jason Gonzalez, Victoria Blake, Sandy LeBlanc, Dr. Laurie McBride, Lynda Whitfield, R. Andrew Strickland, Timothy Hodges, Katie Simons, Daniel Inouye, Christopher Schager, Kelly Gilson, David Maxedon, Tyson Stephenson and Cristina Skinner.
A spin-off of Corinth Theatre-Arts has been the formation of the Theatre Guild in 1979 as a support group. The Guild has been the guiding force behind many fundraising events, such as the Critics’ Choice Cookbooks. They were also instrumental in establishing the Magnolia Awards Galas.
A major renovation of the Playhouse was completed in 1982, centering around the addition of a large work and storage room on the Northeast corner. The stage-high room also provides wing room and features a loading dock. Dressing room, make-up, rest room and the concession area also were expanded; a new director’s office was built and the lobby was redecorated. In 1990, CT-A replaced the wooden seats, originally acquired from the old Cruise Street School auditorium, with overstuffed movie theatre seats from a Malco theatre in the Old Hickory Mall in Jackson, Tennessee.
During the years, CT-A has had many ups and downs and there have been many changes, both good and bad. Through it all, there have been MANY volunteers generously giving of their time, their talents, and their money to see that this vision of a non-profit arts organization in the Alcorn-Corinth area be successful…and not only that, but to survive and endure the tests of time. CT-A has provided 42 wonderful years of memories for this community. As we begin this 43rd season, please join us in our quest to bring arts entertainment to Northeast Mississippi, to help educate the youngsters in our Tri-State area, and to economically stimulate our area through the promotion of tourism. CT-A is nothing other than a community of volunteers committed to the arts and we need you - the community!