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Young artists put on play to benefit the Humane Society of the Nature Coast

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A group of young adults from Hernando County have formed a theatrical troupe with the sole intention of performing productions that benefit a local nonprofit organization. This weekend the group are presenting their own special variation of a fantasy classic. The Giles Theatre Group will present The Wizard of Oz by Erin Detrick at 7 pm on July 29 and 30 at 10515 Northcliffe Blvd., Spring Hill. Tickets are $5 a person and are available for purchase online and in-person, children under the age of three free. All profits from the show will be donated to The Humane Society of the Nature Coast.

The Giles Theatre Group was formed by Jasmine Giles and Ginger Yang. They are recent graduates of Springstead High School, local thespians, and animal lovers. They were devastated to learn that the Humane Society was allegedly cheated out of a million dollars by a former organization director. An investigation is currently underway.

“In February of this year, we hosted a ‘dog wash’ to raise funds for the shelter,” said Ginger Yang, who currently resides in Orlando while attending University of Central Florida. Giles will be following suit in the Fall. “After seeing how successful that event was, Jasmine and I agreed that we would host another fundraiser for them. Together, we worked to put on a play, so that the community would be able to enjoy a theatrical production and support animals in need!”

Giles is excited to apply her love for the theatrical arts to a good cause. Giles shared “I got the idea for the production this past March. Throughout high school, I had the opportunity to perform in a few theatrical performances, was part of my school’s thespian troupe, and took acting classes. Along with the help of Ginger Yang, we started on all of the behind-the-scenes work. This included holding auditions, finding a venue, and fundraising.”

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Giles took the reins as director. “As the director, it was my job to put together everything you see on stage. This ranged from building set pieces to putting together costumes to lighting and sound,” she said. “Of course I had some help from my cast and crew to make all of this happen.”
This production is a brainchild of a group of creative young people bound together by their love of drama and their intrinsic drive to help animals in need. Yang stated “Our cast and crew are made up of 15 people interested in theatre and the arts. Many of them are students attending Springstead and some are incoming college students. In theatre, we refer to our whole cast and crew as a company. Our director’s name is Jasmine Giles, so we decided to name the company after her. Hence the name Giles Theatre Group. Although it is currently only to support the Humane Society, we hope to further our productions even further in the future!”

Giles sought multiple sources of funding for this production. “All of those involved in our production are either incoming college freshmen or current high school students. All of the money put into this show was either fundraised, donated, or from my personal pocket,” said Giles. “We did the best that we could to make this spectacular, and we hope everyone enjoys our show!”

The Wizard of Oz seems the ideal choice for a theatrical fund-raiser set to benefit an animal charity. “This interpretation of The Wizard of Oz was written by Erin Detrick,” said Yang. “We chose it because it aligns with the original book, while still changing a few things.”
Lori Bainum, the organization’s director, greatly appreciates the efforts of the Giles Theatre Group to help and support The Humane Society of the Nature Coast. “This can help in all ways,” she said. “It will do so much in our continuous mission to help our dogs and cats.” Aside from the essential care needs of the animals, Bainum says the play proceeds will go to support a special dog shelter project underway. “The fund-raiser also will help to bring in new audiences,” she said. “The thought is that those who support the arts, may want to support the community too. These are good people. We want to support them as well.”

Tickets for The Wizard of Oz are $5 per person and can be bought online or in person. Purchase tickets online at https://www.eventbrite.com/. For more information, visit the Humane Society’s FaceBook page.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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