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'Welcome everybody back home': Live theatre returns to Central Georgia

Theatre Macon's production of 'Once on this Island' runs through Sunday and the Perry Players open 'Ghost' July 8.

MACON, Ga. — Live theatre is back in Central Georgia.

For months, our community theatres and theatres all over the country had to adapt to pandemic restrictions.

Some shut down while others got creative to keep their doors open. But now, they're back.

"I don't think I can accurately express how excited we are," says Perry Players Director Michael Stewart.

Richard Frazier, Artistic Director for Theatre Macon agrees.

"It's been so nice to just sit and experience live theatre again and to be in the room where it happens," Frazier says.

Theatre Macon transported their audience to an island Thursday night with the musical 'Once on this Island.'

They are only letting in 70 to 80 percent of their capacity and keeping one empty seat between each party.

But Frazier says that's much better than before.

"I know how much it means to me to have people back here. I know how much it means to our performers and our volunteers to have someone to perform for that's not just a camera."

Down in Perry, they're in rehearsals for 'Ghost' which opens in early July.

They've gone from having just a camera in the audience, to 50 people, now to 170.

"It's always nice to do a little bit, but it's never the same as being able to fill a theatre with almost 200 people at every show," says Stewart.

Both theatres do still have some precautions in place.

"I think the new norm for community theatre is we're gonna be sanitized from the front door to the back door," says Perry Players President Jimmy Strickland.

All three men say they're just happy to have the community back together.

"We try to make it something that they can enjoy from the time they walk in to the time they leave," says Strickland.

Stewart says the energy he feels from his cast is electric.

"We're gonna be back to the full experience that we're used to and to feel that... really the reason why we do this of getting to perform for a full audience."

Frazier says their opening night was a success and it just felt good.

"It was the absolute perfect night. It was like a family reunion like we hadn't seen each other in quite some time, so it was nice to welcome everybody back home."

'Once on this Island' runs through Sunday, June 6. Masks are required at Theatre Macon.

'Ghost' opens on July 8 in Perry and masks are optional.

Down the road, Macon Little Theatre is kicking things off with their kids camp performing 'The Wizard of Oz' June 18 through the 20.

Both theatres will continue to have streaming options for people who aren't ready to come back and join them in person yet or for those who live out of town.

For more information on streaming options and to buy tickets, visit the Perry Player's website here and Theatre Macon's website here.