GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - After nearly ten years of steering the ship of a well-known children’s theatre company, owner and director of Triple Threat Academy, Cliff Thompson, has now taken on a new responsibility leading yet another prestigious children’s theatre group on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Thompson cut his teeth on South Mississippi stages under the tutelage of many theatre directors. Tonya Hays was one of those directors. Now, Thompson has been tasked to continue the legacy of Wings Performing Arts at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center—a program that Hays created.
“Wings has been a force in the community for young performers for twenty plus years. The founder, Tonya Hays has put together, piece by piece over the years. It’s been the coolest process, she’s put together a state of the art facility for these productions to take place... and for classes and workshops,” said new Wings director, Thompson.
Even though his own company was close to celebrating a decade of theatre magic on the Gulf Coast, the decision to turn the page was not difficult. “At the end of the day, Triple Threat Academy is a community... a community of young actors and singers and dancers and even more importantly their parents. So, where that community goes, there goes Triple Threat Academy. It was really the ability to take what I was already doing in my old position and having a home base to base it all out of. That’s what made it such an easy decision," Thompson said.
With the support of his creative team, Thompson feels that he will be able to continue the long-standing tradition of excellence in the T.S. Hays Theatre. “I have always admired Tonya Hays. I’ve always been impressed with her and looked to her as a mentor— particularly in the field of theatre education. So, while it’s a huge challenge to assume, having the guidance of her and other teachers like her in the past, I feel pretty confident that we’re gonna be able to take it to a new level," Thompson told WLOX.
Thompson’s first project will be a two-week summer camp featuring Disney’s Aladdin Jr. The camp will start June 8th at the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. For more information on the camp click here.