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If you’ve been a fan of the theatre arts in Aiken for any length over time over the last half century, it’s almost a guarantee that you have experienced a production that has included Aiken native Jim Moore’s influence. He has been active in our community as an actor, singer, and director for more than 50 years.
“I’ve always been in the church from an early age,” Jim said. “The choir especially gave me an introduction into the singing aspect. When arrived in Aiken, St. John’s United Methodist Church choir was where I met several individuals already involved in the theatre scene here in town. You can say that they recruited me from the choir, and the rest is history!”
His involvement in the theatre began as singing and acting, and then shifted into becoming a playwright. Jim started writing the annual musical benefit productions for the Aiken Women’s Heart Board in the late 1970s, and until this year, he has been writing and directing them ever since.
“I always write the shows and hand select the music to accompany each show to make sure it is cohesive and, most importantly, enjoyable,” Jim said. “Something as simple as a song can inspire an idea or vision for a play. A song is what inspired Three Cabelleros, another inspiration is a take on Rocket Man and being on the moon. Really, anything can inspire. I have also done things in reference to Elvis, The Beetles, and the Ed Sullivan Show.”
The musical benefit productions have been a family affair for the Moore family. Jim’s son, Jimmy Moore, has written two plays and currently does the music for each show. His daughter, Julie Whitesell, has been in the shows for several years. All of his children grew up going to the shows or being a part of the production of them.
Jim has been with the Aiken Women’s Heart Board since 1978 and since then, there have been 44 shows (one year was skipped). He wrote 41 of those plays. The community has been extremely receptive to his playwright talents and have consistently sold out the benefit. In turn, the shows have been able to donate over $2.5 million to the American Heart Association.
“Aiken is a great home for theatre,” Jim said. “There’s a love for arts and culture here, and it’s a perfect fit for the performing arts.”