2015-09-04 / Arts & Entertainment

Harbison Theatre, a place where everyone is welcome

By Warren Hughes

The Texas Tenor at Harbison Theatre The Texas Tenor at Harbison Theatre Harbison Theatre Executive Director Katie Fox wants the public to feel the performing arts center at Midlands Technical College is a place where they all belong.

Like all of Midlands Technical College, Harbison Theatre “is a place where everyone is welcome,” says Fox, who has served as executive director of the theatre since 2011.

“Dancing, storytelling, music—we all do these things everyday, whether it’s the twist in your step you take to avoid bumping into someone in the hallway or the song you hum in the car,” she explained. “What happens on a stage won’t be so foreign to anyone, and if it is, questions are welcome,” she said.

The Harbison Theatre is flourishing under the leadership of Fox, who has taken and run with the performance arts program over the past four years, and, in turn, is booking some of the strongest shows in the country.

Katie Fox Katie Fox “Community response and participation in our first few years has been fantastic,” says Fox. “Audience input and interest encouraged us to expand our offerings.” The current season “offers an expanded speaker series that will challenge us to think big; more family offerings so that multiple generations can enjoy the theatre together; and the exciting National Theatre Live screen series that will offer Midlands audiences access to Broadway- caliber ( and often Broadway-bound) theatre starring some of the biggest names in the business.”

Fox oversees planning, programming, marketing, and operations for the 400-seat venue, which hosts an annual Signature Series, the HT@MTC Performance Incubator and the “Pops Series” of the SC Philharmonic as well as serving as a viewing site for National Theatre, Live. The theatre also fosters a multitude of educational partnerships, including rentals to other community arts organizations.

Since its inception in 2012, the Performance Incubator has invited professional local performers to create new work suitable for touring to other theatres and non-traditional venues, ensuring ongoing work for involved artists and the availability of premiere productions to audiences in the Midlands. The new pieces premiere on the Harbison stage before artists take the show on the road.

“National Theatre Live” is the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast the best of British theatre live from the London stage around the world.

Prior to joining the Harbison Theatre, Fox served as the director of the SC Artists’ Ventures Initiative at the SC Arts Commission. She holds an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Missouri and a MBA and Master of Arts Administration from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music. Over the past few years, Katie has been recognized as one of The State Newspaper’s 20 Under 40, one of the Free Times’ Power 50, and as MTC’s College Administrator of the Year.

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