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Troy University Theatre, Public Radio collaborate for audio drama “Tinyard Hill”

Tyler McLellan as David and Micayla Johnston as Aileen in Troy University's production of Tinyard Hill.

Tyler McLellan as David and Micayla Johnston as Aileen in Troy University's production of Tinyard Hill.

Troy University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will take to the airwaves this weekend with the audio musical “Tinyard Hill” premiering on TROY Public Radio.

“Tinyard Hill” was written by Theatre faculty member Tommy Newman and collaborator Mark Allen. Students and faculty recorded and produced it in a local studio in Brundidge.

The musical is a four-person show set in a small town in Georgia in the 1960s.

“It touches on some of the things that were happening,” Tori Lee Averett, the Department Chair of Theatre and Dance, said. “Most notably, the two things that it touches on content-wise are the Vietnam War and the aspects of racial harmony in the South in a difficult time.”

Although set during a challenging period, Averett sees a deeper meaning behind the script.

“I think it’s much more about how we are to each other as neighbors and as people in a community,” Averett said. “It’s about some of the basic ideas of how we treat one another.”

The Theatre Department began exploring the idea of an audio production as a way to reach audiences during a time when live performances have been restricted due to COVID-19.

The Theatre and Dance department will collaborate with TROY Public Radio to release the audio musical on air.

 

Tad Wilson, Micayla Johnston, Tyler McLellan, Tori Lee Averett during production for Tinyard Hill.
Tad Wilson, Micayla Johnston, Tyler McLellan, Tori Lee Averett during production for Tinyard Hill.

The air dates include Saturday, July 3, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., Sunday, July 4, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., and Monday, July 5, from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m.

They will also feature interviews with the cast on the “Talk of Troy” and “In Focus.”

“This past year, we’ve really worked to try to find different ways to get out to the audiences who we love and who have come to expect things we’re producing,” Averett said. “One of the ways that we’ve experimented with ‘Tinyard Hill’ is audio theatre.”

Troy Public Radio Operations Manager Kyle Gassiott said the play is a great opportunity to provide entertaining and artistically compelling content to listeners. 

“Audio is really big right now,” says TROY Public Radio Operations Manager Kyle Gassiott. “It’s really hot and it’s so exciting to have this collaboration with TROY Theater. This is the first time that the radio station and the theater department are collaborating to do this and it’s such an amazing production to be our first. I think when people tune in and hear it you’re gonna get so much out of it.”

Averett performed alongside her students who are also working alongside Broadway performer Tad Wilson.

“They are with a Broadway performer almost everyday,” Averett said. “He’s answering their questions, but they’re also watching how he rehearses and how he behaves.”

Averett owes the success of the production to her students.

“They have been so resilient during this COVID challenge,” Averett said. “Despite what may be a fearful or doubtful moment in their young lives and in the careers that they’ve chosen, I have been floored by how they have come out of it with more eagerness and more hunger.

“They’re wonderful ambassadors for TROY and I’m so excited that the wider world will experience what I get to see everyday.”

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