"Reading Tennessee Williams" Will be a Part of the Ava Gardner Festival

Festival attendees encouraged to read Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana"

Smithfield, NC, August 14, 2010 --(PR.com)-- Each year the Ava Gardner Museum celebrates Ava's life and career by hosting the Ava Gardner Festival. This annual event includes heritage tours, screenings of classic Ava Gardner films, and special exhibits.

This year’s festival will kickoff during the Ava Gardner Festival Gala on Friday evening, October 8th and will continue Saturday, October 9th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. The 2010 Ava Gardner Festival marks the 10th anniversary of the Ava Gardner Museum.

During the months leading up to the festival, community residents will be encouraged to read the Tennessee Williams play The Night of the Iguana, the cinematic version in which Ava Gardner starred. The reading program “Reading Tennessee Williams” will be a partnership with the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield and residents of Johnston, Wake, Wilson, Nash, Wayne, Sampson and Harnett counties will be encouraged to participate at their local libraries. Community members will be provided with supplemental materials, such as Reader’s Guides and Discussion Questions, to assist in the active reading of these works.

After having read and discussed these works, community members will be invited to two events to celebrate the conclusion of their Tennessee Williams study. On Thursday, October 7th, Dr. Joseph Flora, a Literature professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will present a lecture about Tennessee Williams and his life at the Ava Gardner Museum. On Saturday, October 9th, community members will be able to watch the film adaptation of the play at the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield. The supplemental materials, the lecture, and the film screenings will be provided to the community at no charge.

Other activities scheduled during the Ava Gardner Festival include the Gala on Friday evening, October 8th. At the Gala, the Museum will unveil its newest exhibit in the Museum’s largest showcase, Ava on the Small Screen. Items from Ava’s television projects The Long Hot Summer, Harem, A.D., and multiple appearances in the television series Knot’s Landing will be featured. This exhibit will run through the end of May 2011. Tickets to the Gala are $50 per person and all-day admission to the Museum on Saturday, October 9th is $5.00 for everyone.

On Saturday, October 9th, in partnership with the Johnston County Heritage Center, heritage tours will be scheduled throughout the day. Visitors will be shown points of interest in Ava's hometown, including Ava's birthplace, the Teacherage where she grew up, the Howell Theater where Ava first went to the movies, and will end with a visit to her gravesite at Sunset Memorial Park. Heritage tour passes are $10 per person.

For accommodations, two local hotels are offering special Ava Gardner Festival discounts. The Best Western Smithfield Inn (919-989-4047) is offering a special rate of $64.00 + tax and the Sleep Inn & Suites of Smithfield (919-209-2360) is offering a 15% discount on rates. Call the hotel directly and mention the Ava Gardner Festival to take advantage of these special discounts.

For more information about the festival and “Reading Tennessee Williams,” please call the museum at 919-934-5830.

The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street and more information may be found on the museum website, www.avagardner.org or by calling 919-934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm with admission of $6.00 adults, $5.00 seniors and groups and $4.00 children.

Ava Gardner Museum
Jessica Meadows Hammett