Posts Tagged ‘theater’

New Theater Opens in Durham with a Unique Approach


By Kathleen O’Rawe Clabby

The Bartlett Theater is not your typical theater – it is the only theater in the Southeast to explore and perform the works of just ONE playwright each season. Founding Artistic Director Jonathan Bohun Brady adds “In the five play season, we will do three plays by them, one play by a playwright that influenced them and one play by a playwright that they influenced. That way you can see how they are interconnected and how theater changes with each new voice.” In the future they hope to explore the works of Eugene O’Neill, Tony Kushner, Sam Shephard and David Mamet to name a few.

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Maigan Kennedy and Chris Wright


The Theater is named after a man who is often credited as Durham’s founding father and first physician: Dr. Bartlett Leonidas Durham who lived on land that he eventually donated which is now the American Tobacco District. He was a jovial man known for storytelling, public singing, and occasional brawls. Like their namesake, the Bartlett Theater wants to be provocatively entertaining while caring deeply about the community.

For their inaugural production opening November 6, the Bartlett Theater chose an American Classic that is one of the most famous plays of the modern theater and one they feel will set a powerful precedent, Tennessee Williams’ THE GLASS MENAGERIE.

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Adam Poole and Shannon Malone

Rehearsals are currently at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham and the performances will be in the PSI Theater at the Durham Arts Council, while they are exploring options for a permanent home.

The Bartlett Theater will have auditions for each play throughout the ten-month season and are excited to tap into the robust community of talented performers that live in the area. Read more on their website.

Kathleen O’Rawe Clabby has been involved in the arts for most of her life as a performer, director, teacher and advocate. She’s most passionate about collaboration within the artist communities and advocating for arts in education.

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180 seat venue – “The Cary” opens this week.

By Alex DunhamImage

Cary’s first indoor movie theater, which operated as The Cary in the 1940s and 50s before becoming a clothing retailer, reopens as a dual movie theater and live performance space on Saturday, February 22. The Town purchased the theater property in 2012, renovated it, and attached a major addition.  The elaborate finished result promises to have a significant presence in the Triangle’s film and performing arts communities.

Margue designed by

Margue designed by Lynn Basa of Chicago and Matt McConnell of Raleigh.

Cary plans to program the theater every Thursday through Sunday with 4-5 films and 1-2 live performances per week. The current film schedule includes classics, documentaries, indies and children’s movies (a full listing can be found here.  Most of the film schedule is familiar, but a few rarer, more challenging films are scheduled as well.  Cary also plans to be including some Bollywood films in their schedule.   One weekend per quarter will be themed, the first of which is “Best of the Oscars” weekend in March.

The theater itself is intimate, comfortable, and versatile. 120 of the 180 seats are refurbished movie seats.  The first several rows, though, are folding chairs, which if removed would allow the front space to become a dance floor, a dining area, or an area for an extended stage. High quality video and sound were focuses of the renovation and acoustic music of all genres may feature in future programming plans. Performer needs were taken into account as well – groups have access to two dressing rooms with sinks and a small kitchen and the stage is easily accessible from the loading area behind the building.

Art conservator Jan Hessling works to restore an original mural in The Cary's second floor lobby.

Art conservator Jan Hessling works to restore an original mural in The Cary’s second floor lobby.

The renovation sought to incorporate The Cary’s history wherever possible. The recreated marquee on the front of the original building is complemented inside by mementos of the original theater, including the two remaining original theater seats, a display of an old roll of film found on site before the renovation, and a restored original mural in one of the upstairs lobbies. The interior is upscale but relaxed rather than pretentious; a movie theater atmosphere prevails.

Snack bar (or future cafe) from above.

Snack bar (or future cafe) from above.

In the Town of Cary’s plans, however, The Cary is much more than its renovated theater. What is now a concession stand on the addition’s lower floor will in the future be leased as a daytime café with outdoor seating.  A curved staircase from the lower floor leads to a grand lobby and reception area, which adjoins a second lobby and potential conference room. Also on the addition’s second floor is a further leasable room to be offered by the Town as office space. Most

View from patio off The Cary's third floor potential restaurant/bar space.

View from patio off The Cary’s third floor potential restaurant/bar space.

impressive, though, is The Cary’s beautiful top floor and balcony, envisioned by the Town as an upscale wine bar.   When The Cary is fully occupied, and assuming the theater lives up to its promise of intimacy and excellent video and sound, it has the potential to become one of the most appealing arts venues in the Triangle.

Interested readers should attend The Cary’s opening weekend, Saturday, February 22 through Sunday, February 23, during which admission to all performances and movies is free.  Visit The Cary’s website here.


Location: Downtown Cary; the address is 122 E. Chatham Street, Cary, NC 27511
Capacity: Between 120 and 180
Use: Film, music, theater; acoustic music possible
Rental Rates: $600 for 5 hours for Cary-based groups, $900 for non-Cary groups
Parking: There are about 30 spots between the addition and the neighboring Johnson’s Jewelers; at night, spaces are available behind the venue at First United Methodist Church on Waldo St.

Alex Dunham is an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill with an interest in classical music administration.



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Forest Moon brings community theater to Wake Forest

by Sarah Hager

Forest Moon Theater is a new, education-based community theater in Wake Forest. The first of its kind in the area, it is giving Wake Forest residents a chance to cultivate a new hobby or nurture an existing passion closer to home.

Encouraged greatly by the community, Forest Moon’s founders, Bob Baird and Cathy Gouge, began Forest Moon at the ground level with no funding.  Bob and Cathy met via performing arts – Cathy taught Bob’s daughter performing arts in grade school and Bob was in charge of the drama program at Raleigh public schools for a handful of years. They felt the Wake Forest area had a pent up need for an outlet for this kind of art and began meeting with Wake Forest Arts, a local arts support organization. Through the meetings, they had a goal to do a production by the beginning of this year.

Their first production, “Academia Nuts,” had a small cast and a fresh plot, with manageable set requirements. Two antique stores in Wake Forest even donated furniture to use in the set. The proceeds from the show secured enough funding for the royalty fees for the second production, set expenses and a 6-month storage unit rental

Forest Moon actors Colleen Guest and Russell Gentry in "Academia Nuts"

“We want to build an organization, because that’s how you survive,” Cathy said. “In a true sense of community theater, we pull talent from the community. We consider ourselves teachers and seek people with different backgrounds, from no experience to professionals, and try to help each person grow.”

Forest Moon is already looking on to its 2014 season and planning for four productions, including a youth only production, holiday, and two mostly adult performances.  They are currently working to find a space to rehearse regularly and construct sets. Mayor Vivian Jones has shown great support for the organization and arts in general, which is helping Forest Moon move forward.  At some point, they hope to incorporate local playwrights into their productions, giving them the opportunity to perform original work. Other plans down the road include acting classes and a youth program.

The next production is “Harvey” by Mary Chase, a comedy involving a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit imaginary friend to an eccentric adult male. It will be performed October 4-5 and 11-12 at 7:30 PM, and October 6 at 3:00 PM, in Wake Forest.

For more information about Forest Moon, visit their website.

Sarah Hager is a graduate of N.C. State University and currently works in marketing. She DJs at WKNC 88.1 and is enthusiastic about North Carolina’s music scene. In her free time, she enjoys going to shows, reading and playing guitar. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @_sarahnade or email.

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