News - Jes Adam Turns Passion Into Action to Keep Factory Theatre Humming

Jes Adam Turns Passion Into Action to Keep Factory Theatre Humming

by Rachel Heston-Davis Jes Adam Turns Passion Into Action to Keep Factory Theatre Humming

Local business owner Jes Adam ’08 has a soft spot for Greenville College’s Factory Theatre; he performed there as a theater major in his undergrad days. So it’s no surprise Adam played a role in preserving the Factory Theatre when, just a few years ago, a lack of student interest in the theater major forced GC to cut the program.

Compelled to Action

Adam’s memories of the undergrad theater scene glow with feelings of belonging and camaraderie. “It was such a family-like environment. We ate together all the time. It was an intentional community without really being intentional.”

This fondness for the Factory Theatre compelled him to take action when the theater nearly met the chopping block. Although GC cut the theater track of the communications major, Adam and several students met with GC administrators and worked out a plan to continue the Factory Theatre as an extracurricular activity. The theater was saved, and Adam installed as its new managing director.

A Lifetime Onstage

Adam's love for the stage reaches back further than undergrad days. Throughout his childhood, his family performed in southern gospel music at shows around the Midwest. At age 15 he landed his first paid acting part at "The Little Theater on the Square" in Sullivan, IL. He also attended a high school in Neoga, IL, with a robust theater program. "I belong onstage; that's kind of how I feel. There's no way around it," Adam says.

When he left GC, Adam gravitated again toward the familiar environment of performance, working first at a theater company in Warsaw, IN, as a wardrobe master and then traveling as a gospel singer with different groups.

Life on a tour bus grew tiresome, and Adam pondered settling down. His brother wanted to return to the town of Greenville and open a business, so Adam agreed to help, hoping to rest and figure out the next stage of life. They opened Adam Brothers cafe, a favorite coffee destination for GC students and professors.Jes Adam

"Then I got sucked into the coffee shop business with my brother in 2011 and I've been here ever since," he says. Several years later came the Factory Theatre’s moment of crisis, and with it, Adam's chance to work with GC theater again.

The Next Act

Today, Adam serves as the Factory Theatre’s part-time director, which means managing the theater, directing shows and recruiting performers. He keeps the theater busy with a lineup of traditional full-length shows, smaller student projects, and live monthly recordings of comedy podcasts called The Factory Theatre Hour.

Adam believes the theater enriches the college experience for students who, like himself, find their niche onstage.

“Just like some people have skill or passion to play guitar or fish, some people are just theatrically minded and that’s their creative outlet.”


Hear from other alumni, students and faculty familiar with the stage:

GC Professor and Factory Theater Spotlight in PUPN Magazine

Where the Fish Are Biting: Alumnus Finds Success in Hollywood

Being A Theater Nerd And Liking It

This story was published on June 15, 2016

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