Founding, and building an organization such as Newtown Arts Company takes the vision and hard work of many people. Shirley Stackhouse Milnor was one of the heavy lifters who helped bring into being this local, community theater company which produces the live shows at the Newtown Theatre.
In the 1980s Shirley was one of the visionaries who saw the potential company grow from the roots of the 300th Newtown Birthday Pageant, SWEET LAND, produced and directed by the late Ezra Stone and his wife Sara Seegar Stone. This production involved more than 500 community members as actors, singers, musicians, set builders, costumers and technical crew.
Shirley and other founding members laid the administrative groundwork, and produced shows such as “You Can’t Take It With You,” “Brigadoon,” “ANNIE,” “Plaza Suite,” “The Music Man” and “Dirty Works at the Crossroads.”
Underlying the opportunity to perform and produce, the company founders’ vision included the mission of providing scholarship grants to graduating high school seniors pursuing post-secondary education in the performing and fine arts. To date the company has awarded nearly $200,000 in scholarship grants and has grown to a company which, prior to COVID 19 restrictions, produced six main stage shows a year at the historic Newtown Theatre, provided theater education, and entertainment for community events.
For four decades, Shirley Milnor was an ardent participant, supporter and cheerleader for Newtown Arts Company. With her wonderful sense of comedic timing, she performed roles on stage and behind the scenes. It is with a sad and grateful heart that we note the passing of this true light of the Newtown stage.
Nancy Pickering, Secretary Newtown Arts Company Board of Directors