"I have a letter up on my bulletin board that I must have written when I was eight years old, and it is instructing my cousins, who were coming to visit for the summer, to make sure they knew which commercials they wanted to recreate because we were gonna put on a show," theater producer Jeffery Jelks says. "They would come and visit, and I would write, produce, and direct our evenings of entertainment. Being involved in theater is all that I have ever wanted to do. There is nothing like the emotion that emanates from the stage when everything works in sync. It is truly magical."
Charleston audiences may remember indie producer Jelks and his passion for the stage from last June's reading of RED, a play by Letitia Guillory, at PURE Theatre. It was read to a packed house and followed by a Q&A session with the playwright, designed to help the audience realize the play's potential onstage. He hopes to bring a full production to life soon with his production company, Breaking the Wall Productions.
Jelks began Breaking the Wall as a way to introduce Charleston audiences to brand-new works. His vision is firmly on the future, and he wants to make projects come alive in new and interesting ways. That's what he's doing with Brussel Sprouts, a one-act comedy he plans to take to a different venue in Charleston once a month. The play will be a recurring "evening of collaborative art" that he hopes will live on and evolve time after time. That's one of his favorite things about the art of theater.
"I love the process," Jelks says. "I love getting a project on its feet. I love watching the audience's reactions. I love seeing actors forget they are acting and just begin to live on the stage. I love seeing artists realize that everything they need is inside of them, and if they trust and let it out, it will all be OK. I love helping people achieve their dreams because that truly makes me happy. And I love the fact that art can make a difference."