DownStage Productions started as just a conversation at a little Pizza Hut in Wiggins, Mississippi between Trae Spears, Jade Withington, and Derrick Havard. They wanted the opportunity to do more shows that they wanted to do, but were not sure how to get it started. They had a lot of conversations about the unnamed theatre company, but it was just that – a conversation.
In December of 2013, Downstage Productions was officially formed as a for profit theatre organization with the intent to produce shows that audiences wanted to see and performers wanted to perform. Little did we know just how expensive it would be. After starting the company, realizing how expensive theatre actually was, and lots of research, Trae Spears decided to dissolve the for profit, DownStage Productions, and create a new organization to become a 501c3 nonprofit. This was the beginning of Downstage Productions Theatre. Yes, we decided to lowercase the stage.
Now, it is 2014 and Downstage Productions Theatre is in need of funds to produce our first season of Broadway-style musicals. The very first performance organized by Downstage was the Performance Showcase that invited performers from all other community theatres on the coast to perform with us. The show would take place at the historic Saenger Theatre in downtown Biloxi, MS in March of 2014. Through this performance, Downstage Productions Theatre was able to secure enough funds to produce our very first musical, Jesus Christ Superstar! We were both nervous and very excited about the prospect of what we could do with this amazing show.
A little side story: Jesus Christ Superstar was Trae’s very first time on stage in 2000 with KNS. This is why he wanted it to be the first production that Downstage produced and it opened on his birthday, April 10, 2015.
Downstage went on to produce three more productions at the Saenger in Biloxi, MS and one show at Biloxi Little Theatre before landing our very first “home” at Climb CDC in Downtown Gulfport. Downstage produced two shows at Climb CDC and one show at Center Stage Biloxi before securing our second home in Bayou View at the old Hope Academy. It was at this location that Downstage Productions Theatre produced fourteen more shows before the Covid19 pandemic shut down the world.
Now, nearly three years post pandemic, Downstage Productions Theatre is entering into our TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY. We are in a new location in north Gulfport in the Norwood Village shopping center that we moved into in January of 2020. We have produced sixteen more productions up to this point and are greatly looking forward to 2023.
Downstage Productions Theatre is always looking for sponsors to help offset the cost of running our nonprofit community theatre. If you would like to become a sponsor, whether it be a one time sponsorship or a monthly donation, please reach out to [email protected]
We welcome everyone regardless of what you look like, where you’re from, how much you have, your ideology, or whom you love.
We are committed to being accepting, considerate, attentive, encouraging, and appreciative of every person who comes through our doors.
We revel in the marvel and wonder of human truths revealed, for the artists and the audience, through the art of live theatre.
We believe that the inherent vaule of individuals working together toward a collective vision creates something powerful that is far greater than the sum of its parts.