Theater Albany hires new director – its first in five years

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Theater Albany has a new manager – its first in five years.

Justin Neil had been involved in historical theater for about five years before taking over as director on Tuesday.

The actor and director said one of his goals was to turn the 300-plus-seat downtown landmark into an event venue.

“We should make it a space to facilitate the arts for the community rather than a few shows a year,” Neil said. “We really want to engage people and make everyone more involved.”

This may involve comedy, music, acting classes, or free family movie nights.

For the past five years, board members have kept the institution running after the retirement of 32-year-old director Mark Costello.

And, like many theaters across the country, Theater Albany has canceled its 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neil’s energy and vision put an end to this period.

The 28-year-old Atlanta native and Georgia Southwestern State University graduate said he was “ecstatic” for the opportunity.

“They trusted me and I’m finally able to get a job in my career field,” Neil said. “Every day I find myself in the space that I love and that gives me so much comfort.”

Founded in 1932 and housed in a 19th-century building, the theater is one of the oldest arts organizations in southwest Georgia.

Its current season begins September 16 and includes four shows beginning with Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

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