It’s not easy to walk away from something you created. Businesses and even educational programming can become much like one’s child, always being linked back to its creator.
It’s like that for Susan Murphy. The Darien resident and founder of the Marsh Studio in McIntosh County created Canopy and its Repertory Co. in 2002. That’s when Murphy and her husband, Don Carson, opened the studio in Athens. But she stepped away to relocate to the coast in 2009. Since then, her vision has continued to flourish in her absence, training artists in trapeze, rope, aerial silks, lyra and other apparatus. Looking at its progress today, she is a bit overwhelmed.
“Oh my goodness. How Canopy has grown … bursting at the seams with over 70 classes a week, with numerous performances each year, summer camp and with expanded Outreach in the community to kids and adults,” she said. “I planted the seed and it has grown into a gorgeous flowering fruit tree way beyond what I envisioned. I am beyond gratified at the direction Canopy has taken and, as such, it continues to be a force in the Athens community.”
As part of the Canopy performance tradition, Murphy will collaboratively create, the day before, a piece on a special apparatus with several company members.
Several of the current company members, Murphy’s former students, will visit her new home to share their talents with the community. They will stage Canopy Reunion IV at the Marsh Studio at 5 p.m., June 9.
For her part, Murphy cannot wait to reconnect. She will even choreograph a piece to be used in the show. It will be a very personal undertaking for Murphy.
“Several of the members of the present day company were my former students who formed the original Canopy Repertory Co. in 2002,” she said.
“I have maintained close relationships with these ‘start-up aerialists,’ going through marriages, life transitions, job changes and babies with them and I have come to know the newer members of the Canopy family as they have moved up from taking classes to being in the Repertory Co. So I welcome with such pleasure and pride, the old and new faces.”
The company members are equally excited to perform in the venue, a place they’ve been venturing to for a decade. Canopy director Melissa Roberts says they enjoy the opportunity to visit the Murphy and her studio.
“We’ve been coming to the coast to visit this beautiful part of the state for almost 10 years now,” Roberts said. “Our performers love to visit with Susan and Don, who are truly our aerial parents, and be able to relax and enjoy the incredible natural beauty of this place. We look forward to it every year.”
This show will offer pieces from the Repertory spring show and will be very diverse, Murphy said.
“The name of the spring show was, ‘Lightness of Being’ with poetry and personal reflections aligned with each piece so it will be both transcendent and personal. And, as intimated by the title, uplifting,” she said.
Tickest are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.