In 2012, Fred and Bonnie Ard Ellis, Latta High Alumni, gave a generous gift to make a state-of-the-art performance auditorium in Latta a reality. Construction was begun on the $2.5 million renovation of the old gymnasium that now includes the Rice Auditorium, an auditorium plaza, lighting and sound systems, and other performing arts technology. Now students are trained in the use of this latest technology. The training and actual hands-on technology have helped to prepare students for future job opportunities.
An adventure began in Latta and the surrounding communities in the summer of 2013 with the grand opening of the Ellis Performing Arts Center. As Winnie the Pooh once said, " As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to happen."
The EPAC lobby offers a unique educational art experience providing works of art from all over the world, representative of the performing arts with sculptures of dancers, musicians, and other pieces of fine art. There is a memorable Donor Wall, designed by Dr. John Kirby, Superintendent of Latta Schools, and created by Copper Creations Artists, Linda and Allen Slone. Hanging above the recamier is a prominent portrait of our generous EPAC donors, Bonnie and Fred Ellis, of whom the Ellis Performing Arts Center is named.
The Rice Auditorium
The Rice Auditorium is named for two former Latta School staff members, husband and wife, Eddie and Dollie Rice. Dollie Rice was an educator and chorus teacher in the Latta Schools. Eddie Rice was an educator and beloved coach in the Latta Schools.
The Rice Auditorium seats 428 guests including six handicapped seats. There are also six spaces for wheelchairs. A technical booth with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems, sponsored by the Robert and Vivian Johnson Foundation, can be utilized by professionals or students during performances. The auditorium is equipped with six screens and four projectors for public viewing or recording. Just off stage is a climate controlled room to protect our two grand pianos, one of which was played by Ray Stevens, Glen Campbell and many other artists at The Alabama Theatre. Sponsors of the two grand pianos are Wade and Bryant Brown and Moses and Martha Heyward. For stage information, click on this link: Stage Diagram Link.
The courtyard between EPAC and Latta Middle School is the perfect location for a gathering or reception before or after an event.
The Green Room is a nice waiting room for performers before, during, and after a performance.
Adjacent to the Green Room, the Dance Room can also be used as a waiting area for large groups or a place to "warm up" before a performance. During school hours, it serves as a dance classroom for LMS and LHS students.
The EPAC is equipped with two dressing rooms. Each is able to accommodate nine performers with their own personal space.