New Mural at Trustus, “Earth Medicine”

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A vibrant addition to the artistic landscape of the Vista has been unveiled at Trustus Theatre. The mural, entitled Earth Medicine, can now be seen on the Lady Street side of Trustus. It was commissioned by The Vista Neighborhood Association (VNA) and facilitated by One Columbia for Arts & Culture. The official unveiling and dedication ceremony was held today.

Bart Walrath from the VNA explained the dedication of the mural and how the project came to fruition. “The murals are dedicated to the memory of Richard Rowe. Rick lived in the Vista, founded the Vista Neighborhood Association and served on the Boards of Trustus Theatre and the Vista Guild, among many other contributions he made to his community. Rick became a champion of adding the murals while he was on the Board of Directors of Trustus Theatre and often mentioned how great it would be to have murals in the three ‘shadow box’ type indentations on the north and west facing walls of the theatre.

Shortly before Rick passed away earlier this year after a long illness, the VNA voted to commission the murals in his memory and began the artist selection process. A committee reviewed 68 applications from artists throughout the southeastern US. Three finalists developed specific concepts and sketches and presented them to the committee. The artist SEVEN was selected. Vibrant & immersive, the murals’ intricate scenes invite onlookers to contemplate the essence of the elements depicted.”

Eric Finley, also known as the artist SEVEN, is a professional muralist and designer originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee. His work is mostly known by its large-scale bold use of vibrant and luminous colors often featuring people, themes of nature and geometry. His approach to mural painting is always rooted in his passion and love for the craft, which is evident by the work he produces.

Earth Medicine is designed to tell a story of the rising collective human consciousness on planet earth at the moment. It features a woman “medicine carrier” who, in her dreamlike state, envisions the rise in consciousness throughout nature. Each section of the triptych mural design is a continuation from the last and viewed as one it could be seen as a continuous image.

This project was made possible by contributions from the Vista Guild and the City of Columbia.  Trustus is honored to join the growing number of public art projects and murals in Columbia’s vibrant and diverse downtown. Photo and video of the event can be found on the Trustus Facebook page.

Introducing our new Executive Director

Columbia, S.C. – Trustus Theatre is excited to announce that their new Executive Director, Jessica Francis Fichter, started on January 4th, 2022. Fichter has a rich theatrical background including a B.A. in theatre education, an M. Ed in divergent learning, and an M.F.A in directing from the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in New York City.

Fichter is extremely invested in the success and growth of the professional theatre community in Columbia. Fichter says “The quality of productions and vision of Trustus has remained unique and clear. Professional theatre is necessary for Columbia’s artistic health, specifically as the city grows.” She is thrilled to be a part of this diverse community of artists and is ready to get to work helping Trustus navigate the changing climate of live theatre. Board President Sumner Bender says “Jessica will be a great addition to the staff at Trustus. Her varied background in theatre gives her a 360-degree view of what is needed to aid in the success of a nonprofit arts organization. We are also interested in ramping up the Trustus education programs and who better to herald that project than a former theatre educator.”

Trustus Theatre’s current Interim Artistic Director, Dewey Scott Wiley, will remain through the end of the current season. Scott-Wiley has put together a full season of shows that have intimate casts and crews to help mitigate COVID concerns. She is working with creative teams to ensure proper COVID protocols are in place and followed. Theatre safety for staff, cast, crew, and audience members is the highest priority this season.

Trustus’ first show of 2022 is Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical rock show, tick, tick… BOOM! on the Thigpen Main Stage. This is followed by two regional premieres: At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen by Terry Guest and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist Dance Nation by Clare Barron. The rom-com musical First Date hits the stage in June, followed by the Trustus True Crime Rep featuring two world-premieres by local playwrights, House Calls by Charlie Finesilver and Composure by Trustus Company member Jason Stokes which run in repertory in August. Flex Passes are available and can be used in any combination of shows. Visit for more information.

Trustus Theatre is currently in its 37th Season as the Midlands’s contemporary professional theatre. Founded in 1985 by Kay and Jim Thigpen, Trustus Theatre boasts two performing venues with the Thigpen Main Stage and the Trustus Side Door Theatre. The theatre and the Trustus Company endeavor to enrich the lives and deepen the experiences of their artists and patrons by producing works that examine humanity in the 21st Century. The theatre’s goal is to select challenging scripts that will start and nurture dialogues that promote discussion within the community with productions that are brought to life through dynamic storytelling and inventive designs.

Introducing: The Producers’ Circle




We’d usually be starting a brand new season around this time of year, but that’s not possible at present. Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Today, we are launching The Producers’ Circle to sustain the future of Trustus Theatre – and if you have a special place in your heart for this theatre, we hope you’ll join today and become a supporting member of our annual fund!

Thanks to new online giving options, you can make monthly or quarterly recurring donations at These recurring donations will give Trustus the ability to support the theatre’s operating expenses during the pandemic, as well as give us the ability to create new streaming events and prepare for our return to live performance.

As ticket buyers and contributors, your support has made it possible for Trustus Theatre to present award-winning contemporary and original works for 35 years right here in Columbia, SC. Truly, we are here BECAUSE OF YOU!

There are benefits to becoming a member of The Producers’ Circle (you won’t mind if we give you preferential treatment, right?), and with recurring donations – your membership will build to new levels over the course of the coming year. [See levels below]

Friends, please support us through this moment. We know that so many are facing a difficult time, but all donations levels are meaningful to our sustainability and essential to our resilience. Join The Producers’ Circle today so that we can gather under the stage lights again once it’s safe.

We miss you. Stay well. Stay safe. We can’t thank you enough.
Chad Henderson

Donate Now



Supporter – $25 to $199
• Trustus Membership card good for 10% of all drinks at the bar
• Acknowledgement in playbills and online

Philanthropist – $200 to $349
• Invitation to the Season kickoff party (on hold for Season 36)
• All benefits listed above

Playwright – $350 to $499
• Trustus T Shirt
• All benefits listed above

Director – $500 to $999
• Attend a Company Preview of one of our Main Stage productions (your choice)
• All benefits listed above



Producer – $1,000 to $4,999
• Invitation to all Company Previews on the Main Stage
• Membership in the Trustus Encore Club and your name inscribed on a star placed on a seat in the Thigpen Main Stage
• All benefits listed above

Executive Producer – $5,000 and up
• Named as individual sponsor of the Season 36 show of your choice. Invite 132 friends, and treat them to a private performance!
• All benefits listed above


Nominated in Three Categories in Free Times Best of Columbia 2020 Awards

We are excited to share that we have once again been nominated in the Free Times Best of Columbia Awards! These awards highlight readers’ favorites from local restaurants and bars to entertainment venues, local politics, and local services. We are honored that our patrons have nominated us for:

  • Best Local Theater Company
  • Best Local Theater Production, A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Best Local Comedy or Improv Group, The Mothers

Voting is now open and we would love to have your vote in these categories!

Congratulations to all of the local theater companies and all of the productions that were nominated alongside us. It’s a great reminder to us all that there is some wonderful theater happening right here in our city.

Voting is open now through the end of the month-get your vote in today for your favorites!

Join us for Midlands Gives on Tuesday, May 5!

Dear Trustus Fans and Supporters,

When Kay and Jim Thigpen founded Trustus Theatre in 1985, they never knew that this organization would grow into an award-winning $600,000 enterprise that is renowned as an essential cultural institution here in South Carolina. When we began our 35th Anniversary Season in September, we never expected that a global pandemic would halt operations and make it necessary to cancel over half of our programming which could eventually result in the loss of over 60% of our projected earned income this season.

While that may sound grim, the underlying strength of Trustus has always been the constant energized efforts of YOU: our fans and supporters. With your help, Trustus will see it through this pandemic and return to bringing you some of the best theatre in South Carolina.

Tuesday May 5th, 2020 is MIDLANDS GIVES — and Trustus is once again participating and in need of your support. This annual event brings philanthropic folks together through a massive day of giving that supports some of your favorite non-profits in the Midlands. We hope you’ll remember all of the great times you’ve had at Trustus in the past years, and help us reach our $10,000 goal on Tuesday.

We’re hoping that 100 fans will donate $100 during Midlands Gives, so that we can reach our $10,000 goal. To donate, please visit and click the green “DONATE NOW” button. The process is easy, quick, and deeply meaningful to our Trustus family.

If you’re able to help us beyond your gracious contribution, you can become part of the Trustus Army during Midlands Gives by sharing our social media posts on Tuesday or contacting friends and colleagues directly and asking for their support.

Due to many generous corporate contributions to Midlands Gives, participating organizations are eligible to win bonus funding awards. So when you contribute, you could be the magic donor who helps us unlock a prize.

Also, if any of you would like to provide a matching donation to drum up competitive giving during MIDLANDS GIVES – please contact me directly at [email protected] before 5pm on May 1st.

We’ll keep you updated during the day on our progress, so we hope you’ll keep checking in with us on our social platforms.

In the meantime, we hope you stay well and safe. We remain deeply grateful for your continued support.



Chad Henderson

Producing Artistic Director

A Message from Trustus

Dear Patrons and Supporters,


Theatre is communal in every way one can imagine. It’s alive, it’s in front of you, and it only exists in the moment. During this quarantine we are unsure when our award-winning programming will return. However, we intend to do everything necessary to support our staff, artists, and audiences’ safety. We at Trustus are not alone as we face this difficult and uncertain time.


I’ll be honest: we could really use your support.


Currently, you can stop by the Trustus Bar from 3:00-6:00pm Tuesday through Saturday to purchase our beer and wine inventory which is now priced for retail. Most bottles of wine can be purchased for $15, and 6-packs of craft brew can be purchased for $12. Some of higher-end items (like champagne) can be purchased for $20. All items have been disinfected, and our staff will serve you with gloves on. This is a great way to support Trustus, AND have a great week and weekend enjoying our delicious offerings (sorry, you’ll have to get your own popcorn).


You can also support Trustus from the comfort of your home by mailing us a donation (520 Lady St., Columbia, SC 29201), or by donating here.


Let’s talk brass tacks here. With our indefinite hold on performances, Trustus is unable to recoup the $30,000 investment made for “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” due to the inability to generate ticket sales. This lack of cash flow will undoubtedly create more severe issues for the theatre as this quarantine continues.


However, we know we have the best fans and supporters that anyone could imagine. We are so thankful to all of our ticket-holders who have been understanding in regards to show cancellations and postponements. To those of you who have already sent us donations, or started fundraisers on Facebook – THANK YOU SO MUCH for being on the front lines with us!


We remain dedicated to serving this community that we love, and we can’t wait for the next time we all convene around the warmth of the stage lights to tell you a story.


If you need entertainment during this quarantine, I highly recommend “Tiger King” on Netflix. Trust me, it’ll remind you how good your life is. In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, stay healthy. We’ll see you on the other side, and thank you for your continued (and greatly appreciated) support!

Chad Henderson
Producing Artistic Director

We Are Proud To Present


Trustus Theatre welcomes the revival of Coker College’s stirring production of We Are Proud to Present […]

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In preparation for presenting the 2019 Pulitzer Winner Fairview, Trustus Theatre is partnering with Coker College to revive their stirring production of We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915—an earlier work by Fairview playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury. This limited run production will be presented by Coker College and will be on Trustus Theatre’s Side Door Theatre stage January 16-18, 2020. Tickets may be purchased at, or by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732.

A group of actors gather to tell the little-known story of the first genocide of the 20th century. We Are Proud to Present […] takes place largely in a rehearsal room that descends from collaborative to absurd as a group of idealistic actors attempt to recreate the extinction of the Herero tribe at the hands of their German colonizers. Along the way, they test the limits of empathy as their own stories, subjectivities, assumptions, and prejudices catalyze their theatrical process. Eventually the full force of a horrific past crashes into the good intentions of the present, and what seemed a faraway place and time comes all too close to home.

We Are Proud to Present […], written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, will be directed by Coker College’s Assistant Professor of Theatre, Andrew Schwartz. The play will be presented by Coker College and will include five actors making their debut at Trustus Theatre: Kamian McClain, Matt Hicks, Isaiah Washington, Amber Coulter, and Chevez Smith. Tristan Pack returns to the Side Door after appearing in the critically acclaimed production of HIR in Season 33. All six are current Coker College students who are either majoring or minoring in theatre and have performed the play before at Coker College.

“Jackie Sibblies Drury, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama last year for Fairview, is one of the most exciting new playwrights to emerge in the last 20 years,” said Schwartz. “Her plays are fearless, bold, and they ask really difficult questions about race, but they also have a wonderful humility and We Are Proud to Present […] in particular is really funny. I promise, this show is not a history lesson. This ensemble is super talented and they work beautifully together. I guarantee that it will be an evening of theatre that will stick with you long after the show is over. It is unlike any play you have ever seen before.

“There are a lot of powerful and uncomfortable ideas that are touched on in the production that I think will resonate differently for different people. The play asks really difficult questions and like most great plays, it doesn’t provide answers. But some of the questions she asks in the play include: who has the right to tell who’s story? What is the role of theatre in addressing historical atrocities? How do you overcome personal bias when devising a universal message? The full title of the play feels overwhelming and probably intimidating, but audiences shouldn’t be afraid. It is the opposite of stuffy and these young actors will inspire and give you a show that you will never forget.”

Trustus Theatre Artistic Director, Chad Henderson, is excited to collaborate with Coker College to bring this production to the Side Door Theatre this January.

“Jackie Sibblies Drury is one of America’s most important contemporary playwrights,” said Henderson. “Her Pulitzer Prize winning play, Fairview, is coming to Trustus Theatre’s main stage in April. We wanted to offer Columbia audiences a primer of her thoughtful, poignant, and inventive work. Hosting Coker College’s revival production of We Are Proud to Present […] is a great opportunity for Trustus to introduce Drury’s cannon to Columbia, and to introduce audiences to an excellent troupe of young performers.”

We Are Proud to Present […] will run from Thursday, January 16 through Saturday, January 18, 2020 and tickets are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Trustus Theatre Box Office at 803-254-9732 or online at Opening night is Thursday, January 16, at 8pm. The performances following are on Friday, January 17, at 8pm and Saturday, January 18, at 2pm and 8pm.

Vista Queen

More than one hundred fifty fans and friends joined Trustus Theatre on Friday, June 7, for Vista Queen 2019, Battle Royale. This was the twenty first year for the Vista Queen pageant, hosted by Columbia educator and performer, Terrence Henderson (aka Alexia Bonet), and Dreher High School Choir Director, Walter Graham (aka CJ Grant). “The Vista Queen Pageant is one-of-a-kind,” said Trustus Artistic Director (and former Vista Queen winner), Chad Henderson. “We gather Trustus friends, family, and supporters each year to compete in an annual drag pageant that is also Trustus’ longest running and most successful fundraiser. With an opening number, a talent competition, and an evening gown interview section – it’s a great event that keeps growing.”

“Vista Queen serves as Trustus Theatre’s largest yearly fundraiser, and I cannot thank the volunteers, hosts, contestants and judges enough for their time, energy and creativity in putting together such an amazing event,” said Trustus Development Director, Brad Martin. “We raised a record amount of money for Trustus Theatre which we will put to good use as we make some much-needed repairs to our roof, the HVAC systems and upgrade our lighting and sound equipment. The success of this year’s pageant was a product of the amazing team work that everyone brought to this event.”

The four contestants this year were no strangers to Vista Queen. The theme was Battle Royale, and four past contestants came back to battle it out for fans and judges’ votes.

The show opened to theme music from the movie Rocky, and contestants took the stage dressed in boxing robes, sequined gloves and feathers, setting the stage for the battle to come. The four contestants, all active performers at Trustus and community leaders, business owners and educators, included Raven Black (Chris Cockrell), Crystal DeCanter (Daryl Byrd), JustGia! (Greg Garrett) and Abortia Clinique (Mark Ziegler). Special guest performers, Nicole Roberts and Paris LeFaris, also took the stage, and Trustus Company member, Abigail McNeely, served as the live stream host so people who didn’t get a ticket could watch the sold-out pageant at home.

This year Trustus invited six amazing local women to serve as judges, including artist Kirkland Smith, Richland County Councilwoman Allison Terracio, founder of Acting Up with Tiffany, Tiffany James, Partner with Burnette Shutt McDaniel Law Firm, Janet Rhodes, owner of Revente, Heather Burns, and Executive Director of Harbison Theatre, Kristin Cobb.

Crystal DeCanter won over the judge’s score sheets, while JustGia! was crowned Miss Vista Queen 2019, as her combined judges score and audience votes gave her the nod over first runner-up, Abortia Clinique.

Trustus would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make this event such a success. Also, thanks got out to sponsors including Jason Carpenter and William Frye, Robin Gottlieb Hair Studio, Revente, Workshop Theatre, Scott Hall and Bone-In Barbecue, Lock Reddick and Green’s Beverages, Arabesque, and The Nickelodeon Theatre.

Trustus Theatre Voted Best Local Theatre Company

Thank you, Columbia, for voting us at the Best Local Theatre Company again this year in the Free Times Best of Columbia Awards!

Here at Trustus, we are dedicated to high-quality productions that speak to today’s most important issues. We’re a safe place for exploration and expression of the political, the personal, and all things human. Our theatre is your theatre!

We’re honored that so many of you in Columbia also believe in our mission, and that you come out to support our actors, our crew, and our directors in each play and musical that we produce in our theatre. At Trustus, it’s always our goal to make an impact on our community by helping to create a more diverse and vibrant Columbia. To us, this award means that we’re making an impact on Columbia and we’re thrilled to be able to do so!

Congratulations to all of the other local theaters that were nominated for this award, especially to the runner up, Town Theatre!

A Festive Week at Trustus

This week is full of so much festive cheer at Trustus Theatre! From a jazzy Christmas concert to the closing weekend of our original production of A Christmas Miracle at the Richland Fashion Mall and the annual Trustus Holiday party, there are multiple opportunities to get festive with us. Join us in all of the holiday cheer and fun festivities!

Here’s what’s on tap at Trustus this week:

Mark Rapp’s Jingle Bell Jazz
Tuesday, December 12 7:30pm
Don’t wait to purchase your tickets for this one—there are less than two dozen seats left! Mark Rapp and his quintet are bringing you a grooving, swinging, funky fun Christmas Concert that will leave you toasty, warm, and happy for the holidays. He, along with Bert Ligon, have taken favorite holiday classics and have created a new arrangement for each one to bring you fresh, brand new tunes.
This show has sold out the past two years & is on track to do the same this year. Hurry and secure your ticket today!

A Christmas Miracle at the Richland Fashion Mall (at Trustus Theatre!)
Wednesday, December 13 – Saturday, December 16
There are only four more chances to catch this original piece written by The Mothers on our Main Stage. With fictional Flarnes & Flobles leaving the mall, a ragtag, loveable group of shop owners and employees have to try and raise $30,000 before Christmas. With a lot of snark and an 80s-style montage of fundraiser ideas, they band together to try and pull off a miracle. Can they do it? Come find out! We still have tickets available for the four remaining performances this week. Don’t miss your final opportunity to see this original production on our Main Stage!

The Mother’s Yuletide Sketch Show
Friday, December 15 11:15pm
The Mother’s are bringing Saturday Night Live-style sketches to you this Friday evening after Friday evening’s performance of A Christmas Miracle at the Richland Fashion Mall. Come out for the last sketch show of 2017 and enjoy a late night evening of laughs, holiday cheer, and libations from the Trustus bar.
Tickets are general admission and are $10 at the door ($5 for students).

Trustus Theatre Holiday Party
Sunday, December 17 6pm
With plenty of food for you to enjoy, a cash bar, entertainment, awards, and general merriment, this is an evening at Trustus Theatre that you don’t want to miss. It’s our way of saying thank you to our wonderful members and patrons for the talent and support that they’ve brought to the theatre this year. All are welcome!

We hope to see you at Trustus this week!

Giving Tuesday

Trustus Theatre Joins the Global #GivingTuesday Movement with the start of our Holiday Miracle Giving Campaign!

Trustus Theatre has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. We are kicking off our Holiday Miracle Giving Campaign on this date to encourage you to make a donation to your theatre, Trustus Theatre!

Please make a donation at any level today and help us reach our goal of 50 donations!

Trustus Holiday Ornament!

With your $100 or more gift to Trustus Theatre we will send you your very own collectible Trustus Holiday Ornament.

This beautiful ornament will be rushed to you in time to hang on your tree for the holidays. Click this link to make your donation and receive this ornament as a thank you for your support!

Our goal is 50 donations to Trustus today so please click this link and help us reach our goal. Please remember you can GIVE ANY AMOUNT! All 2017 Holiday Miracle Donors will be featured prominently on a wall in Trustus Theatre.

The Encore Club is back for the Holidays!

For those of you who wish to invest in Trustus Theatre at the $1,000 or more level we will place a special star on a seat in the Thigpen Main Stage in your honor.

Please contact Development Director, Brad Martin, at [email protected] for more information or CLICK HERE to make a donation at this level.

Annual Fund Renewal Campaign


We kicked off our fall Annual Fund Renewal Campaign back in the beginning of September, and thanks to all the wonderful Trustus patrons and supporters, we are almost halfway to our goal of 200 donors and $50,000.

I’m excited! When I took over as Development Director here at Trustus I heard that the support for this theatre was incredible. Now I have seen it firsthand. And, I have found out quickly why people love this theatre. It’s because of the people. It’s because of the people like Artistic Director, Chad Henderson and Technical Director, Brandon McIver. It’s because of Production Manager, Patrick Kelly, and all the stage managers, designers and company members who work tirelessly every day to put on the best stage productions in all the Carolinas.

I’ve seen this commitment first hand. Just recently, I worked on a grant with our Education Coordinator, Martha Hearn-Kelly. Martha not only works with Trustus Theatre, she is a public school drama teacher in Columbia, and she leads the Trustus sketch comedy troupe, The Mothers. In addition to all the other work she does she spent hours on her own working to collaborate with me on this particular grant. And this isn’t the exception…this is what everyone here does.

You want to know where all this started and why folks pour their hearts into this theatre? It’s because of Jim and Kay Thigpen, who started Trustus Theatre back in 1985. When they bought a building in a rundown part of town called The Vista there was very little around. Without their vision and commitment, The Vista would not be what it is today. At the end of August when Jim Thigpen passed away the theatre overflowed with fans, friends, family members and patrons all here to honor the legacy and memory of Jim Thigpen. He and Kay have been loved and respected by the arts community in this area for decades, and the people that come to this theatre everyday work hard to honor their legacy.

Recently I spoke with Kay and she wanted to write a brief note. She asks for the help of patrons and donors again.

Trustus lives! Five years after Jim & I retired, Trustus thrives. There is no better legacy we could have possibly wished for. A lot of changes have been made as this fantastic group of young people found their way. None of this would have been possible, however, without you & your faith, your commitment & your donations. So yes, I’m asking once again. If you’re a past donor, please continue. If you’re new to Trustus, I promise you will not be disappointed. After all, not only is this professional theatre, but it’s the best theatre! Please be a part of it.

Kay Thigpen, Co-founder

There is not much more that I can add. Please take a moment to make a donation to Trustus Theatre. CLICK HERE to make your donation to Trustus Theatre today.

Thank you so much,

Brad Martin

Director of Development
Trustus Theatre
[email protected]

Trustus Theatre Kicks Off Fall
Giving Campaign

Have you thought about supporting your local theater? Do you understand the value it brings to the community? We all talk about and realize that arts and culture are integral parts of our society, and the arts community in Columbia, SC, has been growing exponentially over the recent years. But Trustus is so much more than a community theatre.

At Trustus Theatre you see shows that make you smile, laugh, think and at times even cringe. We believe in art that draws you out of your comfort zone, opening your eyes to the amazing creativity of the human mind. A story told through the eyes of a talented playwright can lead us toward a better understanding of the many complex issues facing our society today.

When you reach beyond your financial comfort zone and support Trustus Theatre you help us continue to produce plays and musicals that challenge and unite our community. Ticket sales only cover a third of our expenses. Grants, corporate sponsors, and donations from loving, giving theater fans like you make up the rest.

Please take a look at the donation levels and give to the Trustus Theatre Annual Fund. With your donation you will be able to enjoy several exciting new benefits to say thank you so much for your support:

  1. The best seats in the house will be reserved for donors and Flex Pass Holders only. You will have access to purchase these seats before anyone else starting one month before each show. We will release these seats to the general public one week before each show opening, so you’ll want to take advantage of this exclusive offer in plenty of time to pick your favorite seats.
  2. With your donation of $200 or more you will receive a card that will give you access to one free drink from the bar before every show you attend.
  3. For donors at the $500 and above level, before opening night of each show we will have a donor party where you’ll get to meet the cast, talk to the director and enjoy food and beverages on us.
  4. With your donation of $1,000 or more we will give you exclusive access to our preview nights and technical rehearsals prior to each opening.

With your support, Trustus will also be able to reach beyond our four walls and into the community. Trustus is partnering with One Columbia to provide free viewings of Improv Comedy from our resident sketch and improv troupe, The Mothers. We are also working with the award-winning Richland County Public Library to develop a series of public readings of classic plays featuring the Trustus company of professional theater artists.

Please take a minute to give to the Trustus Annual Fund today.

CLICK HERE to donate to the Trustus Theatre Annual Fund. Or you can write a check made out to Trustus Theatre and mail it to: Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St., Columbia, SC 29201.

Thank you so very much for your support. I hope to see you at a Trustus Theatre show this year.



Brad Martin
Director of Development
Trustus Theatre

Welcome New Team Members

Welcome Brad, Patrick, Martha & Avery!

Brad Martin has joined Trustus as the new Director of Development. Prior to working with Trustus Theatre, he spent five years as Development Director for two non-profit performing arts organizations and 18 years managing retail stores in the Columbia area. Brad says, “I am excited to become part of the Trustus family. At Trustus, we have a history of providing engaging and entertaining productions for the Columbia community. Combine that with the exciting new education programs we are working on, and we believe Trustus Theatre will continue to develop into the destination arts organization for community residents and sponsors to invest their time and treasure.”

Patrick Michael Kelly, a Columbia native, is a theatre artist, educator, and administrator. Patrick joins Trustus as the Production Manager. He began working and training in the theatre right here at Trustus as a member of the Apprentice Company. He studied theatre at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities and in the honors program at the University of South Carolina. Patrick also graduated from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Acting. Most recently at Trustus, Patrick acted in the 2016 Trustus Playwright’s Festival winner Anatomy of a Hug and directed this season’s production of Hand to God. He’s also an active member of The Mothers, Trustus’ resident comedy troupe.

Martha Hearn Kelly has been a member of the Trustus family since 2001 when she joined the Apprentice Company as a freshman in high school. Martha joins Trustus as the Education Coordinator. She studied theatre at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities and the University of South Carolina, and received her Masters in Educational Theatre from the City College of New York. Currently, she leads The Mothers, Trustus’ resident comedy troupe, and directs Columbia Children’s Theatre’s teen improv company, Just Happy to Be Here. Martha has also recently performed on the Trustus Stage in
Dog Sees God, Lieutenant of Inishmore, BOY and Hand to God.

Avery Bateman is a great addition to the Trustus team as our new Box Office Manager. She’s ready to take your calls or greet you in person! Avery has been seen in Dreamgirls (Lorelle Robinson), In The Red and Brown Water (Oya), A Christmas Carol (The Spirit of Christmas Past, Mrs. Cratchet, Constance, and Narrator 4), Ragtime (Sarah Brown), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Avery “BayBay” Bateman), and many other productions here at her Trustus home. Avery received her BFA in Musical Theatre at Coker College 2011.

The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical

Grab your britches and tell your kin because Trustus Theatre is announcing the upcoming holiday hit, The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical written by David Nehls and Betsy Kelso and directed by Robin Gottlieb with music direction by Randy Moore running from December 2 – December 17.

The finest trailer park in all of North Florida, Armadillo Acres, is gearing up for the Christmas season and the tenants couldn’t be more giddy- that is, everyone but newcomer Darlene. When a freak bout of amnesia strikes Darlene, the trailer park Scrooge, due to some improperly wired decorations, neighborly love is put to the test. Between an unexpected love affair and one-too-many glasses of Keg Nog, the outrageousness that Betty, Lin, Pickles and the rest of the cast will bring to the Thigpen Mainstage will be a hootin’ and hollerin’ time for mature audiences only!

Chad Henderson, artistic director, excitedly says, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical was such a sold-out success when we first ran it in 2011 that we opened our next season with a revival of it in 2012. Audiences loved these slapdash characters that were comedic and outlandish, but were ultimately relatable. You don’t need to have seen the first musical to appreciate this story, and this is the perfect show for patrons wanting to get into the spirit – but prefer a more adult-alternative approach. If audiences truly love comedies (as I’m often led to believe), then this will be the hottest ticket in the Midlands this holiday season.”

“I play Betty, the leasing manager of North Florida’s most exclusive manufactured housing community,” says actress Vicky Henderson. “Along with two other very colorful women, Lin (a death row widow) and Pickles (a spunky yet naive, new mom who’s also newly single), they serve as the modern-day Greek chorus of sorts, helping the audience get to know the residents and relevant happenings of Armadillo Acres. We do a lot of bonding with the audience, making sure you feel like more like family and less like a visitor before the night is through. Whether or not you saw the first show, you will recognize these lovable characters as they without a doubt appear in your own life. This is a perfect show to decompress with friends from the busyness of the holidays.”

Opening night for The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical is Friday, December 2 at 8:00 pm. Other shows are Saturday, December 3 at 8:00pm, Sunday, December 4 at 3:00pm, Tuesday, December 6 at 7:30pm, Wednesday, December 7 at 7:30pm, Thursday, December 8 at 7:30pm, Friday, December 9 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 10 at 8:00pm, Sunday, December 11 at 3:00pm, Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30pm, Thursday, December 15 at 7:30pm, Friday, December 16 at 8:00pm and Saturday, December 17 at 8:00pm.Tickets are available at the Trustus box office or online at Box office hours are Wednesday-Friday from 2-6 pm.

Welcome to the Family

Without a doubt, the true success of Trustus Theatre is the group of core artists who call Trustus their theatrical home. These talented individuals create our productions from the ground up – and they’re all folks from right here in the Midlands. As the Artistic Director, I’m often graced with the opportunity to overhear our audiences’ reactions to the artists on stage and behind the scenes. People are often shocked to find out that the artists that create our work are their neighbors and fellow citizens of the Capital City. This goes to show that Columbia is a town teeming with talent, and that we are truly fortunate to have so many creative people living in our community.

At the end of every season Trustus Theatre welcomes new members to the Trustus Company. These individuals are integral to the artistic fabric that is woven on our stages, and they believe that Columbia deserves high quality productions and engaging programming. As our 32nd exciting season begins in September we are delighted to announce the new AND returning members of the Trustus Company that will be joining us in our efforts to tell provocative stories this season.

As Co-founder and original Artistic Director Jim Thigpen always said to new artists walking through our doors, “When you’re here, you’re family.” We want to acquaint you with the new members of the Trustus Company – the new members of our family.

patrickkellyPatrick  Michael Kelly began his career at Trustus when he was a young theatre artist in the Trustus Apprentice Company. While studying with the Theatre and Dance Department at the University of South Carolina, Patrick co-founded The Armed Chair Company along with Trustus Company Member EG Heard Engle. This college-aged company produced various late night works at Trustus, and Patrick was in the director’s chair often. Kelly also starred in various productions at Trustus including The Graduate and Hedwig and the Angry Inch amongst others. Since then he’s lived and worked in Chicago and also received an MFA in Acting from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. A member of Actors Equity Association, Patrick returned to Trustus this summer in the role of Ben in Anatomy of a Hug. He will be directing the Trustus production of Hand to God in 2017. Welcome back Patrick!

marthaMartha Hearn returns to Trustus after becoming an award-winning teacher in NYC. She received her Masters of Education in Educational Theatre from the City College of New York in 2014. She began her Trustus career as a member of the Trustus Apprentice Company, and while in college she became a member of Armed Chair Productions. During her time as an Armed Chair member, Martha acted in various productions on the Main Stage, directed in the Side Door, and was the creator and principle writer for the highly popular Loaded Late Night Sketch Comedy Series. She went on to study with The Second City, The Upright Citizens Brigade, and various clowning workshops. Martha will be overseeing the sketch comedy and improv programming in Season 32. Welcome back Martha!

devinandersonDevin Anderson recently played the fiery Whatsername in the hit Trustus production of Green Day’s American Idiot. She has been seen in other hit Trustus musicals including Dreamgirls, Godspell, and Avenue Q. You may have also seen her excellent portrayal of Celie in Workshop Theatre’s production of The Color Purple. Devin first graced our main stage in the 2011 production of Spring Awakening. Welcome Devin!

katieleitnerKatie Leitner first appeared at Trustus as Mimi in both of the hit productions of RENT in 2009 and 2010. Since then she has appeared in Avenue Q, the first two Henderson Bros. Burlesque shows, The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical, and Green Day’s American Idiot. Katie has also performed with the South Carolina Palmetto Opera and Opera at USC. Katie will be playing the role of Magenta in our upcoming production of The Rocky Horror Show. Welcome Katie!

bakarilebbyBakari Lebby made his Trusus debut in In the Red and Brown Water. This past season Bakari returned to play the role of Elegba in The Brothers Size, which also traveled to the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC this past Spring. Bakari was also a performer in our highly popular Loaded Late Night Sketch Comedy shows that came back in the Spring. He was a member of the Ensemble in this summer’s production of Green Day’s American Idiot. Bakari has been in the director’s chair for an independent production of God of Carnage and the Workshop production of Stick Fly. He also competed in the 2016 Vista Queen Pageant as Clarissa Dagger. Bakari was also one of the masterminds behind the highly successful Hoechella event that endeavored to “raise awareness and combat slut shaming, rape culture, and unjust legislation that affects people’s bodily autonomy.” Welcome Bakari!

jonathanmonkJonathan Monk returned to Columbia after being a professional actor who appeared on various Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and regional stages. A member of Actors Equity Association, Jonathan was seen in the Trustus production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob and he played the role of Peter in Trustus’ production of Peter and the Starcatcher. Jonathan has performed various solo shows as his clown character Heathcliff. Jonathan studied theatre at Carnegie Mellon University and studied sketch comedy and improv with NYC’s Upright Citizens Brigade. He also appeared in both of our recent Loaded Late Night Sketch Comedy shows. Welcome Jonathan!

abigailludwigAbigail Smith Ludwig played Lin in the hit production of The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical – and she’ll be returning to reprise the role this season. She was a member of the Ensemble in Green Day’s American Idiot, The Restoration’s Constance, and Ragtime The Musical. She also appeared in Evil Dead the Musical in 2014. Abigail also co-styled wigs for Marie Antoinette amongst many other styling projects all over town. She has also been seen in many principle roles at Town Theatre including Sugar, West Side Story, and White Christmas. Welcome Abigail!

haleysprankleHaley Sprankle was a member of the Trustus Apprentice Company while she was in high school. Our youngest new member, Sprankle is currently a student at the University of South Carolina where she studies theatre. Haley was last seen at Trustus in the hit production of Dreamgirls in 2015. Last season Haley ran sound board for our productions of Marie Antionette and The Brothers Size (both productions). She has also choreographed numbers for our Apprentice Company Musical Theatre track. She is a member of USC’s premiere improve troupe TOAST. Welcome Haley!

Anatomy of a Hug

Anatomy of a Hug explores what happens when a convict, Iris, receives Compassionate Release from her prison sentence into her daughter Amelia’s care. A lifetime of living through beloved TV characters doesn’t prepare Amelia for the actual drama of her mother’s return or the advances of a charming co-worker, Ben. The ticking clock of her mother’s illness means Amelia must decide if her fictional life is safer than the possibility of her own story.

Anatomy of a Hug has a relatively small cast. Only four actors, and a potted plant who tends to upstage all the other characters,” says playwright Kat Ramsburg. Ramsburg goes on to say, “What I love most is that the play features two incredibly strong women in the lead roles. The two supporting characters include another strong woman and a guy who might be the quirky side-kick best friend from your favorite sit-com. Then of course, there’s the plant…”.

The Trustus Playwrights’ Festival is an annual national competition that started in 1988 where playwrights all over the country submit their work. Last season over 300 submissions were sent to Trustus. This year, the Literary Manager at the time looked at each submission, which consisted of a playwright bio, resume, play synopsis, character breakdown, setting breakdown, and a 10-page sample. After requesting the full script of a narrowed down list, it was then narrowed down to just 5 finalists. The full finalist scripts were sent to Artistic Director, Chad Henderson and Co-Artistic Director, Dewey Scott Wiley to decide upon the winner.

“We all have relationships we wish could have ended differently, be that with lovers, parents, co-workers. Anatomy of a Hug explores those choices, but in a really humorous way,” says Ramsburg.

We are so excited for Kat and being able to showcase her winning play right here at Trustus and would love for you to join us in this unique Trustus event. For more information and updates, continue to visit us here at, on facebook, on twitter or call 803.254.9732.

Making Noise in Columbia!

American Idiot is making a lot of noise here in Columbia – literally. We’ve had a wild season of auditions, rehearsals, opening night and continued performances that have continuously rocked the main stage. In addition to the easily recognizable Green Day musical hits, American Idiot draws a lot of power from telling a human story. We’d love for you to join us as we find connection and belonging in a culture that seems to become more disconnected and out of touch with humanity. Read it for yourself in the most recent reviews that are buzzing around the Columbia streets:

“Indeed, while Green Day and American Idiot’s name recognition should certainly help bring the crowds, Ibrahim’s confidence comes as much from her company’s willingness to take risks — and the artists’ commitment to making sure that those reaches are consistently worthwhile”. – More from Free Times here:
“With over 20 screens, a projector, four video feeds, LED light strips and a confetti feature, audiences can expect a new experience on the Trustus stage.” via The State Newspaper here:
American Idiot musical shakes up traditional theatre.” See more from  The Daily Gamecock here:
“In those moments, I was often surprised by how well most of the songs translated so deftly to the stage, even for folks who aren’t necessarily fans of the band and familiar with the album, thanks to how electrifying it is to see them brought to life.” More from Jasper Magazine – The Word on Columbia Arts here:
“[American Idiot] undeniably rocks out at full throttle… It would be hard to find a better way to spend an hour and 40 minutes as part of a fun night out in the Vista.” – see more here:


You have a limited chance to see what Columbia critics are raving about. We can’t wait to see you in the audience as we rock the stage and create topics you’ll be discussing long after you leave our theatre. Without our audience, we wouldn’t be able to bring this two time Tony Award-winning production to town. For more information on American Idiotvisit or call 803.254.9732.

Ever get post show blues?


By Vicky Saye Henderson

You know the pattern.

You audition for a show.
You get cast.
You rehearse for weeks.
You open the show.
The run is an amazing experience.
You, the cast and crew galvanize as a community.
You feel artistically alive and appreciated.
The show closes.
Once the thrill of finally getting to do laundry again subsides…
Then what?

If you do not have another audition or show lined up right away, how do you nurture your talent and make the most of your down time to grow and refuel? Here are 10 ways to be “out of work creatively” from the incredibly insightful Joanna Merlin. These tips come from the last chapter of her book, AUDITIONING: AN ACTOR-FRIENDLY GUIDE (Vintage Books, Copyright 2001).

1. Take classes that will improve your skills.
Continue to grow and expand your talents. If funds are limited, gather with other actors to read & discuss plays regularly.

2. Find mentors.
Find actors, teachers or coaches who inspire you, whom you trust and from whom you can learn. Let them know of your goals and ask for their help in pursuing them.

3. Exercise.
Keep your body in good shape for both your artistic work and your health. It makes you look and feel better plus it will improve your versatility and increase your stamina for your next show.

4. Stimulate your artistic sensibilities.
Take in art in any way you can. Go to performances. If funds are limited, ask to usher. Step outside of your comfort zone and gain an appreciation for other forms of artistic expression. Keep your sense of wonderment alive and well. Listen to music that stirs you. Feed your soul.

5. Don’t let “show business” be the only thing in your life.
It’s easy for actors to be insular. We spend a lot of time doing and talking about acting and theater. Expand your horizons. Take in what’s going on outside the world of acting.

6. Volunteer.
Give of yourself. Be useful to organizations and institutions that would value your help. It is a good way to gain a new perspective on the world around you.

7. Husband your time…don’t waste it.
Learn something every day, as it will feed you, making you both a better actor and a better person.

8. Relationships.
Ask anyone who has been in a relationship with an actor and they will tell you it’s not easy. Actors work weird hours, often late at night. Their lives can be unpredictable. An altered rehearsal schedule can change your plans on a dime. However, it’s our relationships that give life meaning. Don’t take them for granted. Be sure that the people in your life are, along with your work, your highest priority. Make plans regularly for some quality time.

9. Community.
One of the hardest things about finishing an acting project is losing a sense of community and feeling alone and isolated. You need a support system of friends, family, other actors, teachers, etc. to help you feel connected. Take classes. Volunteer. Make plans with others. Find ways to build community.

10. Know why you want to act.
The reason may change over time, but stay tuned into the reason you give so much of your time and talent to it. Whatever it is, just knowing the answer can serve as a support system.

Pursuing Your Goals

Permainan judi bandarkiu terpercaya adalah salah satu kategori permainan yang paling populer sampai diwaktu ini. tak sedikit bettor lebih memilih untuk bermain jenis judi ini lantaran benar-benar memberikan keuntungan yang lebih agung di bandingkan dengan permainan judi yg lain. Beberapa bettor memang berhasil meraih kemenangan gede setelah bermain judi domino online dengan server paling baik yang pernah ada.

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pertama adalah server bandarkiu bisa membuat akses internet anda lancar
faktor pertama yang sanggup anda peroleh dari agen judi domino bersama server paling baik adalah lancarnya koneksi internet waktu diperlukan utk terhubung situs perjudian online & menjalankan pemainan yang ada di dalamnya, maka anda tidak perlu takut situs domino sanggup ke luar bersama sendirinya. tak hanya itu, server yang baik pun tidak bisa berpengaruh para penggunaan provider yang anda pakai.

maka aman-aman saja diwaktu memakai provider apapun buat internet & mengakses website perjudian online. karena sampai disaat ini tak sedikit sekali provider yang memblokir situs-situs agen perjudian online diakibatkan bebera[a factor pertama faktor adanya penipuan & pun akses yang sama sekali tidak aman. Sedangkan seandainya anda berkunjung ke agen domino online 99 maka tidak perlu takut adanya server yang gangguan. sebab agen domino qiu qiu online ini memiliki server paling baik untuk memberikan kenyamanan & keamanan kepada para member agar bisa bermain lebih menyenangkan.
Lebih hoki duduk dimeja manapun
perihal lain apabila server permainan judi domino online tidak ada gangguan sama sekali maka pun akan berperanguh kepada gerakan permainan judi online itu sendiri, yang mana pemain sanggup jadi lebih hoki dikarenakan sistem permainan yang dijalankan akan memang lah memberikan keuntungan sendiri bagi para member. setelah itu pula tak sedikit elemen yang mampu saja harus anda ketahui lebih rincian, bisa jadi id anda mampu lebih hoki apabila main-main qiu qiu 99 di server paling baik yang pernah ada. jadi tunggu apalagi, coba buat main dengan bersama kami & dapatkan kemenangan waktu ini pun dgn tentu. Jadilah satu orang jagoan bersama membawa pulang jutaan Rupiah setiap harinya.

Support bersama segala gadget
Kelebihan yg lain seandainya anda bermain bandarkiu dengan server paling baik merupakan support dengan seluruhnya gadget yang anda miliki. tidak menutup sanggup menjadi juga kala anda bermain judi domino online dengan hp jarang berlangsung ke luar sendiri atau erorr yang menyebabkan handphone menjadi panas lalu hang begitu saja. aplikasi judi online domino ini di rancangan untuk sanggup dioperasikan dgn mudah & sanggup jadi memberikan kemenangan yang lebih besar lagi.
Nah itulah beberapa perihal yang menyebabkan agen judi bandarkiu terkenal di Internet, masih ada tak sedikit sekali faktor-faktor yang menyebabkan permainan judi ceme online begitu ternama. yang tentu dari setiap permainan judi sendiri pun ada menang & kalahnya, tinggal macam mana cara anda utk memperoleh kemenangan itu sendiri. Kami serta menyediakan beberapa tata trik yang mampu menjadi dapat anda coba buat mendapatkan kemenangan dgn cukup mudah. mari bergabung dgn dgn kami & nikmati seluruh kemenangannya dikala ini pun.