By Annie Rice
Todd Davison grew up in Macon. After graduating college, he went back to the historical small town to work with his family, but he felt the community lacked the presence of live, theatrical theater. So, he decided to change that.
With a mind set on bring culture to Macon, Todd purchased the Royal Theatre and converted it from a cinema to a live-action community theater. In 2004, he opened the Maples Repertory Theatre, and the inaugural season had three shows. Today, the theater has seven-show seasons and kids’ summer camps where Todd is the artistic director.
The theater troupe at Maples has performed shows such as Chicago, South Pacific, and The West Side Waltz. Big River, a musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is the company’s newest show, which will open on July 18 and will run until August 3.
With seven shows each season, Todd is a busy man. He plans each season, casts actors from all over the country, produces each show, and raises funds for the theater. He even performs in some of the shows, albeit it usually small supporting role.
“It gives me, personally, an opportunity to interact with the company,” Todd says.
The kids’ summer program started because Macon had no theater education programs; Todd, of course, changed that. The program now has about sixty kids that learn comedy improv, singing, and more. However, self-confidence is the most important thing Todd teaches.
With the theater’s performers acting as the teachers, the summer camp runs from July 21 to July 25 and is open to children ages six to eighteen. The kids’ shows are performed on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 am and cost $5.
Todd plans to expand programs to the spring and wants to offer year-round programs and an internship-work program at Maples.
“It’s about working together and finding a community,” Todd says.