Sherman native Josh Harris will be taking over the Sherman Community Players as its newest artistic director. The announcement was made by Harris on April 26 via Facebook.
“Now that everything is official, I would like to announce that I have accepted the position of Artistic Director with Sherman Community Players, Mainstage,” Harris’ post said. “I am escatic and looking forward to all the possibilities! A special thanks to everyone who supported me during this process.”
Former SCP artistic director Anthony Nelson resigned in December of 2018 after six years with the program.
With the acceptance of the new position, Harris also announced he will no longer be working for Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma, where he was a coordinator for alumni and advancement services. He also worked as an adjunct theater teacher for the school.
“I’m honored to be the new artistic director of SCP Main Stage,” Harris said in his Facebook message. “To be part of its distinguished legacy of artist excellence is humbling and simply mind-blowing. When I first started performing with SCP 20 years ago, I would have never dreamed this possible. I’m so thankful to be welcomed home in this collaborative and immersive environment. Our 71st season is going to be one to remember!”
The first director was Esther Strong who led the theater to a silver trophy at the Little Theater tournament in Dallas. Ron Cassady was director of the theater for 38 years, retiring in 2012. He was followed by Nelson who directed the theater for six years.
“We are a culturally artistic community,” he said in February about growing up in the Texoma area and participating in area theater programs. “It is incredible the love and passion that we all have for this same thing. It just speaks volumes about where the live, what we do and what we are passionate about. It is not everywhere that has that. Small towns do not often have that.”
Harris was first introduced to theater through a traveling show put on by SCP. During a run of “Charlotte’s Web,” he got his first role as Lurvy, the hired hand. Since then, Harris immersed himself in theater and choir through art programs at Dillingham Intermediate School, Piner Middle School, Sherman High School and SOSU.
Harris is not new to directing Sherman theater programs. He was the assistant director for 2016 Theatricks run of “The Little Mermaid” and he directed the 2017 run of “The Wizard of Oz.” Harris directed “The Music Man” for SCP in February.
“The theater was going through a hard time and getting to be the director of this show was a bit like, ‘Who can stand up and do it?’” he said about the decision to direct the first show of the spring portion of the 70th season of SCP. “And, I was like, ‘I want to.’ (he raised his hand.) This theater is my home. It is my life. Not only growing up here, but theater in general. I dedicate myself no matter where I am in this world to theater and to art and to change people’s lives on a regular basis.”
Harris has two degrees, one in musical theater and one in acting with an emphasis in directing.
“I will carry forward with diligence, passion and a work ethic that benefits the organization, its staff, and current volunteers,” Harris said.