Dr. Larry Bailey Corse, the founder of the Clayton State Theatre, and its director for 31 years, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at the age of 71.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. Please online condolences should be sent to www.csog.com.
Clayton State University’s second-most senior faculty member at the time of his June 2003 retirement, Corse was a professor of English as well as the founder and artistic director of Clayton State Theater.
A native of Tyler, Tx., Corse earned the following four degrees from North Texas State University (NTSU); his Bachelor of Music in Music Education (1962), his Master of Music in Music Theory (1963), his Master of Arts in English (1970), and his Ph.D. in English Renaissance (1972).
Corse entered academia as choir director at Randolph High School located on Texas’ Randolph Air Force Base (1963-1967). Next, he taught both choir and English at Bailey Junior High, part of an Independent School District in Arlington, Tx. (1967-1969). Just prior to teaching at Clayton State, Corse served as a Teaching Fellow instructing freshman English at his NTSU alma mater (1969-1972).
In September1972, Corse joined the faculty of Clayton State (then Clayton Junior College) as a professor of English. Though Corse will be remembered for his teaching, his contributions to Clayton State Theater will be his lasting legacy. For 31 theater seasons, Corse was committed to both student actors/actresses and aspiring playwrights. Time and time again, Corse opened the stage to premiere new works of theater, including the musical “The Day it Rained Forever,” by science fiction author Ray Bradbury and composer William Whitefield, and the play “Your Name in Bold,” by former Clayton State Biology Professor Dr. Greg Hampikian. In total, Clayton State Theater premiered 34 new works under his direction.
“He did carry water for our institution for so many years, and was a presence in Atlanta theatre in general,” says current Clayton State Theatre Director Phillip DePoy. “Kind of the end of an era.”
The last show Corse directed, in the spring of 2003, was Christopher Durang’s parody “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls,” part of the larger production “Short, Short, Really Short Redux.” This production marked show number 216 of the Clayton State Theatre, and its closing night marked the 1,009th performance on the Clayton State stage under Corse’s direction.