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Experience the Arts Live at the Ford Center

Photo courtesy UM Communications
Photo courtesy UM Communications

The Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the University of Mississippi campus is more than a typical academic building.

Hosting an average of 150 shows every year for more than a decade, including the first 2008 Presidential Debate, the massive performance facility is unique to the area and provides many opportunities for Oxonians and Ole Miss students alike to experience the arts in their own backyard.

Jekyll & Hyde National Broadway Tour Photos courtesy Ford Center
Jekyll & Hyde National Broadway Tour
Photo courtesy Ford Center

Every week, new events ranging from national Broadway tours and international dance companies take the stage one night before Theta Encore and children’s shows. Musicians are often on the season lineup with all types of tunes after a discussion with two Supreme Court justices. In short, there’s always something for every taste.

Audiences flock to the 1,250 plush red seats and enjoy an evening at the theatre, taken away from the realities outside the center’s walls and engulfed in the story, the music, the show alone.

But their mission isn’t only to entertain, but also to enrich and educate the Oxford masses “by providing a venue for programming in performing arts, public affairs and the humanities. The Ford Center complements the university’s commitment to excellence in education, research and service while celebrating imagination, innovation and creativity.”

david-dorfmanThe space, which opened in 2003, was founded in the memory of the ever-inquisitive Gertrude Castellow Ford. In 1991, the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation was created in Jackson to help support the arts across Mississippi. She died five years later but dedicated a large sum through the foundation to construct the Ford Center and support many other Mississippi-based arts organizations. She is memorialized in front of the theatre playing a violin.

In the next few weeks, the Ford Center will host The Great Gatsby, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, artist in residence Bruce Levingston and Ole Miss music department’s operatic performance of Hamlet, followed by three dance companies and a family-friendly children’s performance of Chuggington Live, all before the end of June.

Amelia Camurati is editor of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at amelia.camurati@hottytoddy.com.

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