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COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women will be center stage for the 2013 Mississippi Theatre Association’s annual festival and convention set for Jan. 17-20.

More than 500 individuals, including high school students and teachers, college students and professors, as well as community participants, from around the state will descend upon Columbus to perform one-act productions, attend workshops and social events and to learn more about theater by watching productions and listening to oral critiques.

Under the leadership of William “Peppy” Biddy, chair of the MUW theatre department, plans are well under way for the upcoming festival.

A highlight of the weekend will be Friday evening’s keynote address by Billy Brasfield, better known as “Billy B,”one of the most successful and sought after makeup artists in the world.

Brasfield works with many of the music industry icons, including Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Tina Turner, Debbie Harry, Pink, Melissa Etheridge, Cheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Bilge, Yoko Ono, Dolly Parton and the list goes on.

Biddy said, “Hosting the festival is a huge undertaking for our small department. Everyone is working diligently to prepare for the multiple events. I am especially impressed with a number of the theater students who are working through their holiday to assure that our guests have a great experience here at MUW.”

In addition to MUW, other hosts include Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau, Joe Cook Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School and the Columbus Arts Council.

High school and community theater competitions will be held in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall; Theatre for Youth Festival will be held at the Joe Cook Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School and the 10-Minute Festival, College/University Auditions, workshops and more will be held in Cromwell Communications Center on The W campus.

The public may purchase tickets for individual performances at Whitfield Hall on Friday and Saturday. Details about performances and tickets will be announced at a later date.

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