Arts Foundation of Fountain Inn (CAFFI) re-opened the doors of the Younts Center for Performing Arts in July of 2017 after acquiring it from the City of Fountain Inn, no one could have imagined the amazing opportunities in store for the people in our community and the surrounding areas.
In barely a year, under their new ownership, over twenty thousand people, many for the first time, have walked through those same doors to experience outstanding local theatre, guest artists, performance recitals, the resident choral and symphony companies, educational seminars, church services, civic events and yes, even Governor McMaster with his secret service, but even the secret service can’t keep The Younts a secret anymore. If you ask new Executive Director, Debbie Alphin, she’ll tell you, “We are alive and well! Just watch us shine!”
With optimistic energy, creativity and determination, Debbie and her team have breathed life and vision back into the heart of Fountain Inn through reviving and expanding the Younts Center and it’s reach into the community.
Their first season began with fall performances by the Younts resident companies, the Fountain Inn Symphony Orchestra (FISO) led by conductor Dr. Michael Moore, and the Fountain Inn Chorale (FIC) under the outstanding direction of Jane Birmingham Morland.
Debbie then introduced the overwhelmingly successful “Gospel Concert Series”. The series began with gospel favorites, The Whisnants and continued with a sold-out Christmas concert by The Ball Brothers as well as a full house for the award-winning Kingsmen Quartet. This September the Gospel Series continues with the nationally known “Booth Brothers”, followed by an encore December return of “The Ball Brothers” and yet another spectacular Christmas performance!
Additionally, Debbie understood the cultural and economic benefits of continuing to include local theater, so in early August 2017 she brought Melody Yasi on board as Artistic Director. It was “One of the best decisions we made!” Melody’s twenty-plus years of experience not only in front of the camera, on stage and in the director/producer’s chair, but also as an entrepreneur has been a great fit for the streamlined Younts admin team. Immediately, she pulled a creative team together and produced the Broadway hit Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ in October, and followed that with the spring musical comedy, Nunsense. Thousands came or returned to see these shows proving that local theatre at The Younts will not only continue, but grow brighter! In her words, “I want theatre at The Younts to bring joy, laughter and inspiration to our audiences while encouraging collaboration, creativity and community among our actors and crew. This is a place where the actors come to play!”
Our upcoming 2018-2019 season featuring Groovin’: Great hits of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the first annual Younts Christmas Cabaret and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, guarantees The Younts Theatre is poised to shine – and here to stay.
REGIONAL AND NATIONAL TOURING SHOWS
The Younts stage will continue to boast stellar regional and national acts like the Glenn Miller Orchestra, the always-popular Rick Alviti and his Elvis Tribute, Seven Bridges, the Eagles tribute band and more!
Make plans to join them this July as The Younts Center for Performing Arts hosts the CAFFI Fundraiser, and welcome’s rock and roll legends, The Drifters – Live in Concert! See website below for ticket information.
ENGAGING FINE ARTS EDUCATION
The Younts is not just a performance venue but also provides quality fine arts classes and workshops for all ages. This summer you will find Acting Up theater camps, a Digi-kids photography workshops, along with one and two-day adult art workshops on sketchbook travels and mixed media as well as theatre audition workshops! With increasing requests from the community, Debbie and Melody are working to secure exceptional instructors, allocate more space and add classes. Go to the website below to register for summer classes at The Younts!
“We are excited about expanding the scope of our theatre program to include theatre classes and workshops as well as the addition of a true Children’s Theatre program to be introduced in the coming year!” Yasi states.
“Let us host your event. We’ll help you shine.”
Another avenue Alphin has tapped into is Venue Rental. Since last summer The Younts has hosted independent theatre productions, a wedding, multiple receptions and recitals, Birthday parties, community awareness seminars and more. From the 418 seat auditorium to the cozy eight-person conference room, there are a wide variety of options if you’re looking for a beautiful and flexible venue for your event.
Elaine Bartlett, the Facilities and Custodial manager is both conscientious and efficient in making sure the Younts Center looks it’s best every day and especially for your event. With her natural administrative charm she also keeps order in the offices of the fast-paced world of Younts performances, rentals and events.
With so much happening, Marketing Director, Jeremy Guthrie has his work cut out! Definitely up for the challenge, he brings promotional experience and years of expertise to the Younts admin team, translating their modest marketing budget into an effective, wide-reaching net of publicity. With a Bachelor Degree from Clemson in Marketing and Business, a strong track record in the corporate world working with Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC and as head of marketing at the SC design firm, Creative Interiors, Jeremy is adept at working with local and national businesses and media outlets.
Both Debbie and Melody stress “Our team wouldn’t be complete without our incredible volunteers.” Lead by Harriet Dease, friendly faces greet you at the door for every performance and they assist in locating your seats and more! Whether the need is set painting or costume creation or organization, marketing help or light maintenance the Younts volunteers have fun and step up to assist wherever and whenever they are needed! Thank you to each and every one of them! If you want to be a part of the fun and join the Younts Volunteer Corp contact Harriett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I want to thank the city of Fountain Inn for their continued support of The Younts Center for Performing Arts. Having grown up here and attended elementary school in this building, it is an honor to be the director at the Younts. I love being back home and part of this great community.” Alphin says. “I have been welcomed with open arms and I appreciate everyone’s support and encouragement. A big thank you to our community.”
“The Younts Center for Performing Arts has a bright future, and it’s a joy to be a part of that,” Yasi adds. “It is our desire that the amazing things happening here at The Younts can begin a partnership which connects folks on Main Street in Fountain Inn with people on the many streets of sister cities and neighboring counties throughout the Upstate. Thank you for a wonderful first year!”
Tickets for upcoming shows at The Younts, including a variety of Season Ticket packages, are easily purchased at their new, redesigned and updated website, www.yountscenter.org, or at the box office during regular business hours.
Cultural Arts Foundation of Fountain Inn Board
Melvin Younts, President & CEO
Laney Younts, Vice President
Jack West, Secretary
Donna Brown, Treasurer
Ligon King, Member
Scott Jones, Member♦