May 18, 2018 10:52:09 AM
Hopes festival funding issues don't affect Tennessee Williams Tribute
I write in reference to the May 10th article in The Packet by Brian Jones entitled "Rants, Raves and Circumstance." The article reports that a number of Columbus festivals have been canceled and other festivals seem to be in jeopardy of a similar fate. I cannot speak to the merits of any of these festivals except the one in which I have participated, the Columbus Tennessee Williams Tribute.
I first visited the beautiful town of Columbus with Academy Award winner Patricia Neal. We performed an adaptation of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" on the campus of the W. One of the persons who was instrumental in having us perform in Columbus was one of the founders of the Tennessee Williams Festival, Brenda Caradine. Both Patricia and I were impressed by the beauty of Columbus and the pride the town illustrated in the preservation of historic homes and other city landmarks. The beautifully restored boyhood home of Tennessee Williams was of particular interest. Patricia had known Mr. Williams and had performed in his plays both on Broadway and in London.
Columbus is the only town in the world that can claim to be the birthplace of America's greatest playwright, Tennessee Williams. I have had the pleasure of returning twice to perform at this festival and I have seen first hand what this festival represents. It is not only an entertainment; it is a cultural experience, a tourist and an economic engine, and an educational opportunity for students of all ages.
Visit Mississippi knows the value of Tennessee Williams' legacy and promotes this literary heritage which is celebrated both in Columbus and in Clarksdale. Both of these towns attract visitors not only from around the United States but from around the world.
This Columbus Tennessee Williams Tribute is far too important to risk losing. I would hope that Columbus individuals and merchants and businesses and schools and corporations and city and state agencies will step up and not only continue the important mission and work of the Columbus Tennessee Williams Festival but expand it.
New York City
Editor's note: This letter has been edited for length and accuracy.
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