MEET A VILLAGER: Debra Heath-Strickland


PHOTO: Fred Lopez

Noteworthy achievements: I was a schoolteacher for 33 years. During that time, I coached a competitive academic team that won several state championships and finished third nationally in the mid-1990s. Since retiring, I formed Questar Productions, which has put on Broadway musicals and dance shows in The Villages. Our upcoming production, “The Andrew Lloyd Webber Show,” will be held Dec. 3–5 at the Savannah Center and will feature 85 Villages residents.

Favorite travel destination: I’ve visited Europe twice during the past two years and went to England, France, Italy and Ireland. While the U.S. is beautiful, I love seeing structures built in the eighth and ninth centuries.

Hometown: I am from Colquitt, Georgia. We’re a little town with big ideas. When the farming industry experienced a downturn, our leaders thought outside the box and realized the town could survive through the arts. We formed an arts council and hosted the International Mural Festival in 2010. Colquitt is also famous for “Swamp Gravy,” a community theater production based on real-life stories from our town. Other communities throughout the country have reached out to us and formed their own community theater production.

Charity involvement: Through Questar Productions, I provide an academic scholarship in the name of a former student Lt. Dan Malcolm. He was a U.S. Marine who was killed in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq.

First concert: I was 16 and saw Sonny and Cher at the Big Bam Show in Montgomery, Alabama. I saw Cher again this year in Jacksonville. She came out wearing a dazzling outfit and said, “I’m 68. What is your grandmother doing tonight?”

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