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The Joy of the Arts

Follow along as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary with 50 Years of Great Stories! These stories of impact are drawn from the past and present, told by our friends and neighbors to reflect the power of authentic connections and experiences.

Help make the Norton Center’s next 50 years even greater by donating today.

The Joy of the Arts

It’s the “uniqueness” of the Norton Center: what drew in Joy Joy Htet as a Centre College freshman, what continues to intrigue him as a staff member, and what will inspire more students for years to come. 

In 2013, Khun Nyan Min Htet “Joy Joy” traveled over 8300 miles from his home in Myanmar to Danville to begin his career as an International Studies student at Centre College. The next four years would prove to be ones of growth and discovery for Htet – in his academics, sense of community, new friendships and new passions. 

As a freshman, Htet began attending Norton Center shows to fulfill Convocation credit requirements, yet he soon discovered a genuine passion for the performing arts. He was the first in line to get student tickets to upcoming shows, ready to experience something new over and over again. 

It was during that time when Htet discovered his love for musicals. He experienced his first-ever Western-World musicals when I Love Lucy Live on Stage and Memphis came to the Norton Center in 2015, igniting a passion that has remained a meaningful part of his life ever since. 

“I’ve attended so many great musicals,” said Htet. “I really enjoy them, and the Norton Center started that for me.” 

After graduating from Centre in 2017, Htet moved on to earn a graduate certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. But, Htet’s time with Centre was far from over.

In pursuit of support and stability, Htet moved back to Danville in 2021. As a Centre student, he had enjoyed being part of a tight-knit community, where he felt people genuinely cared about one another. In March 2022, he found himself exactly where he wanted to be, accepting the Assistant Director of International Recruitment position at Centre and once again becoming a piece of the campus puzzle. 

Htet’s time at the Norton Center wasn’t over yet, either. After living in big cities like Washington D.C., Shanghai and Nanjing, where major shows aren’t easily accessible, Htet said it was a “no-brainer” to become a Norton Center season subscriber. 

“I am a huge fan of performances and shows, especially musicals and plays. Knowing the Norton Center brings in world-class performances, and that I can see them without having to travel to Lexington or Louisville, it was a no-brainer to become a season subscriber.”

Centre’s Faculty and Staff benefit – offering Centre employees double the discount on regular subscription prices – made his decision even easier. But according to Htet, he would still find himself enjoying Norton Center shows even without a discount. 

“Before I moved back to Danville, I lived in D.C. Going to shows there can be really costly,” he shared. “Even without the Centre discount, it is beyond worth the price of the shows for the quality of performances and entertainment here.” 

Students get the best discount of all, with the opportunity to get a free ticket for any performance throughout the year. As a member of the Centre admissions team, Htet recognizes the Norton Center as a big draw for incoming students — and not just those actively engaged in the performing arts. 

“The Norton Center provides an opportunity for students to be exposed to different cultural performances, different types of entertainment,” said Htet. “It’s an instrumental part of Centre, where you’re able to see performances from all over the world, which is unique.”

That same uniqueness was what drew in Htet as a freshman years before, and continues to inspire and transform students every year through diverse performances, student work opportunities and cultural collaborations. 

“[The Norton Center] is more than just a physical space for the Centre community. It is a place of celebration, discussion and entertainment.”

As the Norton Center begins its 50th anniversary season, Htet looks forward to new performances and more transformative experiences for himself and the entire student body. 

Ready to be entertained and inspired? Subscribe today and receive the best discounts on the Norton Center’s 50th Anniversary Season season, plus exclusive benefits all year long. Visit the Subscriptions page or call the Box Office at 1-877-HIT-SHOW for more information! 

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