Special to Atmore News
A new arts-centric group, The Railway Arts Guild (R.A.G.), has been formed and will be bringing several performance and entertainment opportunities to Escambia, Baldwin and Monroe counties in Alabama, and Escambia County, Florida. The four-county area in Southwest Alabama and Northwest Florida has proven to be fertile ground for quality performers and R.A.G. Time plans to provide opportunities for this talent to be developed and showcased.
Central to the repertoire of this new group will be musicals, classic and new plays featuring children, youth and adults of all ages in an inclusive and safe environment and workshops in all aspects of music, theater and visual arts.
The Board of Directors includes both experienced professionals and new talent, providing leadership that promises both professional quality work with an openness to new ideas.
- CEO – Phil Johnson, with 55 years performance experience including multiple professional shows and more than 150 shows as a director and technical designer, Johnson lends considerable knowledge to the fledgling group.
- Artistic director – Ellen Johnson-Willis, having worked professionally for several years, has returned to the area and shares her talents both theatrically and musically through local productions and her entertainment business, Magical Meetings.
- Assistant artistic director – Andrew Goble is a supporter and practitioner of the arts, with experience in theater, instrumental performance, choral music and music education.
- Secretary / visual arts director – Hannah Mascaro joins Railway after reuniting with her childhood love of musical theater in 2021, and has been performing locally since. Hannah specializes in the visual arts.
- Treasurer / stage manager – Isabel Lutz is an accomplished dancer and stage manager who has been the unsung hero of some of Atmore’s most successful productions, starting in 2017.
- Media director – Joseph K. Seltzer is a veteran actor who studied under Dr. Tonea Stewart at Alabama State University in the late 90s and has been performing regionally since 2017.
- Member-at-large – Andrew Willis brings over 20 years of theatrical experience from dozens of theaters, live events and film from across the country. Andrew specializes in stage movement and combat.
This team has been the driving force behind many successful productions in the Atmore area and now is committed to expanding opportunities for arts development throughout the area.
“Our mission is to provide opportunities,” CEO Johnson says. “Our focus is to create a safe space where people from all walks of life can come together and share their love and
passion for the arts. We aim to make an experience in theatre fun while still striving for
high quality performances.”
Look for announcements about audition opportunities and performance dates. One of the first projects in the works is a live performance of the Christmas Classic “The Polar Express.”
This will be offered free at a location yet to be announced. To learn more, visit the RAGtime Facebook page by searching for Railway Arts Guild.
The guild is a non-profit organization.