Now in its second season, Red Clay Theatre and Arts Center was established to provide the citizens of Gwinnett County and beyond, a diverse array of professional, community and youth theatrical productions.
Its 2006 / 2007 production featured two in-house professional productions: “Educating Rita” and “The Woman in Black”, two transfers of successful productions from elsewhere in Atlanta’s metro – “Bad Dates” (The Horizon Theatre Company) and “Smoke on the Mountain” (Play Right Productions – originally produced at the Cumming Playhouse). Red Clay also honored its obligation to promote and develop community theatre by hosting the New Dawn Theatre Company production of “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”.
Its 2007 / 2008 season also features professional and community productions. The first production of this season also saw the return of Scott Ross and his Down Right Theatre Company to the stage of Duluth. Mr. Ross was responsible for starting professional theatre in the city before the Aurora Theatre took over the reigns. RCT was delighted to welcome back Scott and his wife, Eileen Land, for their production of the comedy “It Had to be You”.
Red Clay Theatre is a 280 seat venue and is equipped with the latest in sound and lighting technology. It is owned by the City of Duluth and is operated by Red Clay Theatre and Arts Center LLC.
Plans for Duluth's newest theatre and arts center were started in 2005. It was clear that the community wanted an arts center - sustaining both cultural and entertainment was important to the city council.
It was decided that a new theatre would be designed and built utilizing an existing church building on Main Street. A new building had been considered, but it was decided that the existing structure (owned by the city) would provide excellent accommodations for an auditorium.
The theatre was approved for design and re-fit by Mayor Shirley Lassiter, the Council of the City of Duluth, Phil McLemore - City Administrator and the 'Theatre Search Committee' - a body of Duluth citizens.
The theatre would be designed by Mark Pitt - a local actor and former arts educator from the UK, Shelly Howard - a citizen of Duluth for whom the theatre represented an essential part of her community and architects, The Sizemore Group. All would work closely with the City of Duluth to design and build an elegant 280-seat auditorium and stage. Realistic Home Solutions of Cumming, Georgia would handle the building conversion. Atlanta lighting experts Barbizon and Georgia sound company 'In Time Productions' were hired to provide the latest in sound and lighting technology.
The building received its certificate of occupancy in October 2006 - days before the opening night of "Educating Rita" - the theatres inaugural production.
In its first season, "Educating Rita" was deemed Suzi Bass Award eligible and the Sunday Paper reviewed Red Clay's production of "The Woman in Black" as being "A solid hit". The theatre also transferred the Horizon Theatre's hit "Bad Dates" to Duluth. This represented the first time that an in-town professional company had traveled to the suburbs. Additionally, Red Clay's community work featured local company "New Dawn Theater", as they brought "Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" to the theatre at Christmas 2006. The season ended with a co-production between Red Clay Theatre and Play Right Productions, as "Smoke on the Mountain" played to audiences in May, 2007.
The theatre is owned by the City of Duluth and is operated by Red Clay Theatre and Arts Center, LLC.