‘486 CLUB’ gives theater lovers taste of mystery

Mark Clayton Southers, artistic director of Theater Initiatives at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture is asking avid theater goers to have a little faith in him.

Southers is offering a new, three-performance theater initiative, 486 CLUB as a way for theater die hards to get the chance to experience some of theaters biggest and brightest one performer shows in a warm, intimate packed house on Monday nights.


“I chose to do it on Mondays when the performers are not performing in other shows and on Mondays in theater you usually get a good crowd in the house,” Southers said.

The idea got its name from the 486-seat theater that is located in the August Wilson Center.

“I’m thinking of ways to introduce theater to people differently and I want to bring in shows that I see at festivals at a regional level,” said Southers. “This is for people who enjoy theater. I want the African-American community to come and enjoy theater under one roof.”

This is all going to be done without advertising or advanced notice.

“I want people to trust me as artistic director to bring in the material. Each performance will be one or two people shows. Each one will be someone that is really engaging tackling topics that appeal to everyone. I’m interested in the artist and their ability to entertain the audience,” Southers said.

Southers got the idea for the show earlier this year while in Florida. He presented the idea to his colleagues at the August Wilson Center who green lighted the idea in June.

“The August Wilson Center is a great facility and in order for people to perform we need audiences,” Southers said.

The idea must have appealed to theater patrons as well because more than 200 subscriptions have been sold.

“Everyone I talked to loved the idea and said they wanted to jump on it. There are folks who are enthusiasts that love the theater and not knowing who the performers are is part of the excitement,” Southers said.

Memberships for the 486 CLUB are $125, which includes three performances and a basic membership to the August Wilson Center and discounts to local restaurants. Students and artists who wish to see the shows can pay $75. Those who already have an August Wilson Center membership can purchase a membership to 486 CLUB for $100.

Performances will take place at the August Wilson Center, 980 Penn Avenue, Downtown. The first production is set for Monday, Nov. 28. The other dates are shows are slated for next year on February 27 and May 21 in 2012, respectively.

(To become a member of the 486 contact Carmen Ellington at cellington@august­wilson­center.org or (412)338-8727.)

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