Donna Cochran has been part of the Highlands Cashiers Players since its first production, “Steel Magnolias,” in which she played the role of Ouiser.
At that time, the organization was known as Highlands Community Players and Cochran has seen many things, in addition to the name, change since 1995.
“My father used to say, ‘That which does not change dies,’ and HCP has indeed come a long way from holding shows in the Community Building,” Cochran says. “But as an organization we have made a two-decade commitment to producing Good Plays, Well Done.”
The first full length show she directed was the melodrama “Caught in the Villain’s Web.” She has also directed Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” parts of “The Dining Room,” and “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running.” One of her most cherished directorial memories was when she directed “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which starred her daughter, Katie. Most recently she was the director of “Welcome to Mitford,” which boasted a cast of 23.
When asked what she liked most about directing, she answered by saying, “The best (and worst) thing about being a director for HCP is that one is given almost complete artistic freedom. This means a show either succeeds or fails depending on the choices of cast and production staff. I have been incredibly fortunate in finding talented actors and great and loyal personnel working behind the scenes.”
She is currently on the board of HCP and, as one of the many dedicated volunteers, serves in whatever capacity is needed for a production.
This spring, May 18-28, HCP will be presenting a historical (and hysterical) comedy, “Don’t Cry for Me, Margaret Mitchell,” at the Highlands Performing Arts Center and directed by Cochran. She saw the play two years ago in Charleston and immediately felt it would be one Highlands audiences would identify with and love.
She would like to remind everyone that backstage help is still needed, and ushers, box office attendants, prop handlers, set painters, and dressers. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming an HCP volunteer, call the box office at (828) 526-8084 and someone will return your call.