Conasauga Shakespeare Coalition
The Conasauga Shakespeare Coalition is a professional, non-profit theater company based in Dalton, Georgia which looks to deliver theater to audiences of all ages, with an emphasis on the timeless works of William Shakespeare. The Coalition company is comprised of actors from many different backgrounds, ranging from union professionals and local talent, to student actors-in-training. CSC has hosted players from around the United States, to as far as Prague, Czech Republic.
In the summer of 2018, a small but merry band of local Players and Shakespeare enthusiasts that included Lane Davies, Wes Phinney, Chase Parker, and Jeff Burr, began discussing the idea of bringing together a group of 15-20 local and professional actors to form the basis of a permanent company to present annual Shakespeare productions in Burr Park. In addition to the permanent company, local high school, college, and even middle school students would be invited to participate in designated productions, giving them a unique opportunity to work in collaboration with working actors. The idea became the Conasauga Shakespeare Coalition, and, with the help of local attorneys Chris Brown and CPA Allen Bentley, the CSC was established as a not-for-profit performing arts organization dedicated primarily to the collected works of William Shakspeare. The coalition received the blessing and endowment of the late, beloved Jeanne Burr, with the plan to perform annual productions at Burr Park in conjunction with the summer concert series.
The company worked in partnership with the Creative Arts Guild, and in cooperation with the Dalton Little Theatre and Artistic Civic Theatre, forming a true arts coalition. With all of this in place, the Conasauga Shakespeare Coalition began work on its inaugural production of Henry V, with local and professional actors in place and Lane Davies directing. The first rate production team consisted of local filmmaker, Mark Hannah, who created the special effects for the production, Travis Lynch, who built an outstanding set that can be reconfigured for future productions, local professional musician Adam Burnette, who composed an original score for Henry V, and professional producer/director Chrystal Ayers, who oversaw the entire production as Production Stage Manager. In this inaugural production of the Conasauga Shakespeare Coalition, the company gave local audiences a taste of things to come. As with theatre companies all over the globe, COVID-19 brought production in 2020 to a halt. The company revived in 2021 with a downsized but delightful production of "Twelfth Night", performed at the Creative Arts Guild, and delivered a raucous, frontier version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at both Prater's Mill Historic Site and Burr Park in June of 2022.