Campus wide, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Faculty, Theatre

Theatre professor directs new musical at Flowertown Players

By Jenna Johnson | February 1, 2023
Prof. Thomas Keating in a theatre collaborative course this semester in partnership with the history department as they focused on theatre and the Holocaust. Photo by Ty Cornett

Thomas Keating, professor of theatre at Charleston Southern University, puts on his director cap for the southeast premiere of Boundless at Flowertown Players in Summerville. The new musical, created by Mary Fishburne, is a fictional story based on the true events of the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting, where a man shot 13 girls in a one-room Amish schoolhouse before killing himself. Ten years later, a sister of one of the victims forms a friendship with the killer’s daughter. Throughout this unlikely bond, they both find grace and momentum to move forward.  

Mary Fishburne, in blue, choreographs with actors for Boundless. Photo by Shallah Divine Dozier – Mind of Divine Photography

Mary Fishburne is a Rock Hill, S.C. native. She lived and worked in New York City before coming to Charleston in 2011. She credits Charleston with her ability to make art. 

“As a New Yorker, I was plugged in to art,” she said. “As a Charlestonian, I had the opportunity to make art. There were ways to gain experience in all facets of theatre, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was collecting the data I needed to write a full musical. Once my husband got a job in Philadelphia, I moved there reluctantly but with the goal of writing a show.”

Fishburne adds, “I am thrilled to share it with my South Carolina community under the direction of Thomas Keating, who directed me in the Footlight Players’ production of South Pacific at the Dock Street theatre over ten years ago. We’ve been truth-telling, career-supporting, artistically-advocating buddies ever since.” 

Since his arrival to the area in 2007, Keating has been deeply invested in the heart of the Charleston theatre community. He is the coordinator of the Theatre Program at Charleston Southern University, where he teaches courses including Acting, Directing, Stagecraft & Design, Acting for the Camera, and Voice & Movement, among others.  Students of majors within and outside of the arts enjoy learning with Keating as mentor.

Keating regularly directs productions at CSU and in Charleston area theatres. Some favorites include West Side Story, A Christmas Carol, Oklahoma!, Into the Woods, and South Pacific, to name a few.  

The multi-talented theatre professor has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) since 1993. As an Equity guest artist, he has appeared on local stages with College of Charleston and Midtown Productions. Prior to his arrival in Charleston, Keating worked as an actor in Boston (Lyric Stage Co.), New York (Public Theater/NYSF/Under the Radar), and Atlanta (Fox Theatre), in addition to touring the U.S.   

Mary Fishburne and Thomas Keating prepare for Boundless at Flowertown Players. Photo by Shallah Divine Dozier – Mind of Divine Photography

Keating holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University in the City of New York and BA in Drama from The University of Georgia. In addition to his acting and directing work, Thomas also writes and voices characters for local animation company, Moondog Animation Studio.

Boundless runs February 17 through the 26. For tickets to Boundless, click here. For additional information about the musical, contact the Flowertown Players box office at 843-875-9251 or ftpboxoffice@gmail.com


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