Heard of Colquitt? You've no doubt heard of Swamp Gravy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Heard of Colquitt? You've no doubt heard of Swamp Gravy

September 9, 2004

Colquitt-- This small town has gained international attention with it's unique approach to theater. Four times a year, Southern life plays out on stages inside an old cotton warehouse.

Swamp Gravy, Georgia's official Folk Life play, brings this 70-year old warehouse to life. Joy Jinks came up with the idea for Swamp Gravy in the early 90's.

"They started gathering stories from the different people in the community, tape recording the stories and gathering those," says Arts Council Marketing Dir. KaCee Holt.

While based on life in the South, Swamp Gravy plays tell stories with universal appeal-- stories about life and death, family and community. There are no big name actors or agents, perhaps that's what makes Swamp Gravy so folksy.

"The play is performed by 80 to 100 volunteers every time. And most of those people are from Colquitt and small communities around here," said Holt. People from around here, like Arts Council Marketing Director KaCee Holt. "I was actually in the original play, Swamp Gravy Sketches that opened in 1992."

Starting at age 12, she performed on these stages as Swamp Gravy ascended into the International Spotlight. "We performed at the '96 Olympics, and we also performed at the Kennedy Center."

But Swamp Gravy is most at home inside this rustic old theater. "You really get the full effect whenever you see it in this theater because it is written for this theater." A theater that also features a museum of Southern Culture. "When you take a tour of that, it also has stories to go along with most of the items that are in the story, in the museum."

Stories that are rich in Southern Tradition, that bring together people from all walks of life, young and old, and preserve a way of living that made Colquitt what it is today.

The new play starts October 1st and runs Thursdays-through Sundays all month. So how did they come up with the name Swamp Gravy? Swamp Gravy is a dish indigenous to this area. It is a stew made from "fish drippings" -- grease left after frying fish. You add tomatoes, potatoes, onions, whatever else you have on hand and voila, you have Swamp Gravy.

posted at 3:55PM by dave.miller@walb.com