Shipp began working at the theater by chance, when she auditioned for a role in ‘Steel Magnolias” in December 2009.
“There is actually a funny story behind my coming here,” Shipp said. “This show was close to my heart as I had played the role of Shelby my junior year of high school. My husband and close friend pushed me to audition and with only two days of prep, I attended my first audition in 15 years.”
Shipp ultimately snagged the part of M’Lynn in the theater’s first originally produced show in March of 2011.
“It was then that I met our former manager, Lenay Walker Sisto, who, at the time, was in the process of looking for a new assistant manager,” she said.
Previous to coming to the theater, the wife and mother of three worked at Hope United Methodist Church for 10 years in children’s ministry, where she focused on family worship, which included dance, music, improvisation and skits. She also planned large events while at the church and is still active in the church’s performing arts program with both acting and directing.
Since taking the role of general manager, Shipp, a New Hope resident, hired someone to fill her shoes in the role of assistant manager — Shelley Hubbard.
Since the theater and civic center now have a full-time staff of three employees, Shipp is aiming to expand programming with more shows and increase rentals of the theater and civic center.
On Nov. 1, the theater will show the Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah movie “Joyful Noise,” which was filmed partly at the theater.
Shipp said there are challenges that come with her new role, but the rewards supersede those challenges.
“The most challenging part of the role is finding shows to produce and present here that our audience will enjoy and buy into, while stretching their repertoire and exposing them to new things,” Shipp said. “The rewards are huge. Definitely tops on the list is watching our community’s love for the arts grow. Not only do they enjoy our shows, but it’s amazing to see how many talented children and adults that we have come out for our show auditions.”