The Landmark Studio for the Arts was originally started as a theater group called “The WV Hillbilly Players” in 1978. In 1988 friends and members of the Players (Bill Hopen and Olga Gioulis) purchased the church building. The building orginally was the Episcopal Church in 1886 and still has the original stained glass windows and woodwork. Since 1978, over 130 productions have graced our stage.
The mission of the Landmark is to provide a venue for art and cultural events in Sutton that can be enjoyed be all citizens of the county and surrounding areas. Whenever possible, in cooperation with the schools, we have endeavored to present programs to enrich our children, both in school and on our stage. We also seek to support and promote regional artist and provide them with space to exhibit.
Our Board Members
Olga Gioulis, Secretary
Olga is a founding member of the Landmark since 1988. She has been in a number of musicals and dramas over the years, has acted as President, Treasurer and Secretary. She has helped write grants and raise funds to present programs and to restore the facility. She says “I strongly believe in the Landmark’s mission to promote the arts and culture in our community and youth. The arts build critical thinking skills and develop self esteem, confidence, and language skills.” Olga is a licensed psychologist at her day job. She is the mother of two wonderful adults who grew up on the Landmark’s stage and the grandmother of three sweeties.
Chris Allen, Treasurer
After graduating from WVU with a degree in Retailing/Marketing I realized the retail market was not for me. For the last 30 years I have worked as a Paralegal for the Law Firm Barth & Thompson in Charleston. I got involved with the Landmark when asked to play a bit part in The Rose Tattoo and haven’t looked back. Due to “stage fright” I turned to directing 1996 and love to do comedies. My present position on the Landmark Studio’s board is Treasurer, after holding that post with the Landmark Players before the two organizations merged. I am fortunate that my husband Rick is my set builder along with my two great sons, Zack and Kyle.
As a resident of Sutton for thirty-five years, I have always supported The Landmark and the fine arts programs. As a first grade teacher for thirty-three years, I incorporated music and drama as very important parts of my curriculum. The arts provide a different avenue for students to express themselves and make all education more relevant. Braxton County is fortunate to have a local program that has been sustained for many years by caring people. I am honored to be a part of The Landmark to assist in the maintenance and advancement of the arts for Braxton County.
I have been a supporter of the Landmark since its beginnings as the Hillbilly Players. The Landmark is one of the special things that adds to quality of life in Braxton county. You’ll find me in the audience and background applauding our excellent productions. This is my second time on the Landmark Board and I hope to help the Landmark to continue to grow and prosper. As a retired school administrator, I bring 30 plus years of experience as a member of the school and county community.
Jamie is no stranger to the Landmark, but is new to the Landmark Board. Jamie is a graduate of Alderson Broaddus University and was a member of its premier touring ensemble “The West Virginians.” While touring Jamie performed over 700 shows during his tenure at the school. Jamie has performed at a number of places and has also been employed in Entertainment at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. Jamie is thrilled to be a member of the board and a performer at the theater he calls home.
Rebecca’s passion for theatre began at the young age of 12 years old. Working off stage and on throughout her middle and high school career, she never thought it would be such a big part of her life as an adult. After high school, she got married and started having kids. In 2001 Rebecca relocated from New York to Sutton WV where she would make a home and become actively involved in her community, including the Landmark. Her first performance at the Landmark was in 2005 where she played a small role in Huckleberry Finn. After that performance, Rebecca wanted to take a different approach to community theater and be a part of introducing the Arts to the youth in our community. Having come from a school with opportunities for anyone, she felt she owed the kids of our community something they are not offered in their own school system. She paired up with former board member and YTP (Youth Theater Program) director and assisted for almost 3 years with the Landmark Youth helping with workshops, productions and theatre competitions. After the demise of the YTP program, Rebecca found herself back on stage as well as involved as a board member. That not being enough for her, and having kids of her own with a passion for theatre, Rebecca felt the Landmark needed to bring back a program for the youth in our community to experience the Arts. In 2012 She developed the now existing LYTE program (Landmark Youth Theatre Ensemble). Rebecca maintains her position as LYTE director, producing up to 2 LYTE productions a year while serving as a board of director, actor, and volunteer to the Landmark.