The stage at the Cricket Theatre will come to life for the first time in more than 20 years.
On Nov. 5, members of Auburn University’s Mosaic Theatre Company will perform “The Integration of Tuskegee High School.” The performance is free and will begin at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Collinsville Historical Association, which owns the theatre, and the Collinsville Public Library secured a grant to pay for the performance.
“I’d say the Cricket Theatre is a tremendous asset to the downtown area because of its proximity,” Collinsville Librarian Jennifer Wilkins said. “It’s in the middle of downtown and is a prominent fixture in the skyline. For the community, it opens up so many doors for future use.”
“The Integration of Tuskegee High School” tells the story of 13 African American students that attempted to integrate Tuskegee High School on Sept. 2, 1963, as a result of the Lee V. Macon County Board of Education lawsuit. Gov. George C. Wallace ordered the schools to close for one week and ordered State Troopers to surround the school and prevent integration.
The Mosaic Theatre Company is composed of Auburn University Students and directed by Tessa Carr. Wilkins said after the performance Thursday night, the theatre company will conduct a three-hour workshop for students at Collinsville High School on Friday.
The Cricket Theatre was named as one of the Alabama Historical Commission’s “Places of Peril” in 2010. The Collinsville Historical Association purchased the building and has been working to restore it to working condition. The theatre was built by Millard Weaver and opened in 1946. It operated through the 1970s and hosted community events as late as 1989. After that, the theatre closed its doors.
The performance next Thursday will be the first event at the Cricket Theatre in about 25 years.
“Whether you want to see a good performance, are just curious about the Cricket Theatre or want to support the arts, everyone is welcome,” Wilkins said. “The CHA has built a new stage and installed theater lighting this week. The Cricket Theatre is still a work in progress — a new marquee and theater seating are needed. But, this is a good opportunity to showcase what has been done so far. You can’t put a price tag on what that building means for our community.”