Culture and Arts in and around Americus

Rylander Theatre

Americus businessman Walter Rylander began construction of one of the South's premier performance theatres and movie palaces in 1919. After a year and a half, the Rylander Theatre opened the doors for its first live performance, the hit play Lightnin on January 21, 1921, and was called "The Finest Playhouse South of Atlanta. " Three weeks later, the Rylander presented its first movie double feature with Mary Pickford's The Love Light and Harold Lloyd's Get Out and Get Under. Through most of the next 30 years, it hosted the finest in live entertainment and motion pictures and finally closed in 1951.

Designed by C.K. Howell of New York with interior design by William Saling, also of New York, the Rylander was a visual feast of ornate plaster work, beautiful stencil patterns, and painted murals. Closed for more than 40 years, the theatre still has much of its original grandeur intact. Having reopened after an extensive restoration (4.8 million dollars), the Rylander Theatre is nothing less than stunning and is once again reclaiming its title as "The Finest Playhouse South of Atlanta."

The Jimmy Carter Auditorium at the Rylander Theater.  The Theater reopened October 1, 1999 in Celebration of Pres. Carter's birthday and the Auditorium was named in his honor.

Sumter Players
For more than 37 years, the community theatre group Sumter Players has delighted theater-goers of all ages. This active group has maintained an excellent record of state productions with a variety of quarterly offerings. The Rylander Theatre serves as headquarters for the organization. Aspiring actors or would-be set designers are always welcome to audition or become a member of the crew. In addition, memberships are available to the public.

Georgia Southwestern State University Fine Arts Department
Georgia Southwestern State University's Fine Arts Department is another excellent source for cultural enrichment, featuring the GSW Choir, GSW Chamber Singers and the Chamber Music Concert Series. 

The GSW Concert Choir regularly performs on campus and is featured throughout the state on an annual tour. 

The GSW Chamber singers present an elegant 16th-Century style "Madrigal Dinner" held every 

The Chamber Music Concert series is another marvelous experience with performances held in the authentic 
setting of the university rotunda. The series features a variety of chamber ensembles including string quartets 
and trios. Six classical performances are held each year. 

The Fine Arts Department has a full season of theatrical performances, including an annual musical. The 
department also consists of several strong instrumental groups, such as a concert band, jazz bank, and 
various small instrument ensembles. All of the department's concerts and performances are open to the 

High Schools Performing Groups
The Americus-Sumter High School Singers, often perform locally and regionally.

Americus Sumter County Arts Council
The Americus Sumter County Arts Council co-sponsors a show with GSW during the university's annual Springfest of Fine Arts. Membership is open to anyone.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 January 2008 14:17