A project in the making since 2012, the historic Appalachian Theatre in downtown Boone reopened in October and has a slate of upcoming events or visitors to enjoy.
The theater opened in 1938 and held live shows until 1950 when the theater was gutted after a fire in the building. The theater re-opened as a movie theater one year later until 2007 when the theater closed again. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country formed in 2012 to see that the theater reopened and was restored to its former glory.
Laura Kratt, executive director of the Appalachian Theatre, said she sees the theater’s opening as a pivotal time for the area and an exciting beginning. Keith Martin, vice chairman of the ATHC board, added that theater officials want the Appalachian Theatre to be a catalyst for new events in Boone.
Now a 620-seat venue, the Appalachian Theatre — located at 559 West King Street in Boone — is prepared to host music and other events as well as show movies and films. Martin said the vision for the theater is to host various concerts, plays, musicals and comedy acts.
“We plan to feature artists and performers that celebrate the musical and cultural heritage of the region,” Kratt said. “We plan to celebrate all that’s best in art and culture and bring artists from very many different traditions as well to create a diverse offering that will entertain audiences of all ages.”
The building’s historic façade and original marquee were replicated from the original 1938 design. The pattern in both the carpeting on the floor and the metallic tiles in the ceiling both replicate the original Art Deco designs authentic to the period in which the theatre was built. The space also offers a 1,850-square-foot stage and an orchestra pit for performances.
“The sound and acoustics are getting rave reviews,” Martin said.
The theater hosted its first public event since reopening on Oct. 14 with a sold-out show from John McEuen and the String Wizards and special guests. It has since hosted other events, while the community is abuzz with excitement about the venue’s restoration efforts.
“The feelings I’ve been getting from the community has been overwhelmingly positive,” Kratt said.
The theater also offers a rentable 1,700-square-foot community room that can accommodate receptions, smaller performing arts events, film screenings, lectures, meetings, patron events, artist receptions and seated dinners. Martin said the community room space is highly in demand. The space also plans to have a series of historically-inspired mural friezes by internationally-known artist Brenda Mauney Councill.
To see a historic tour of the Appalachian Theatre, visit www.apptheatre.org/historical-tour.
Upcoming eventsThe next big event the Appalachian Theatre has scheduled is The Gathering, a holiday concert featuring Laurelyn Dossett, April Verch, Joe Newberry and Mike Compton at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. The event coincides with the town of Boone’s Festive First Friday when the town will light its community Christmas tree.
To welcome in the holiday season, the Carolina Snowbelles will perform at 7:30 on Dec. 13 and 14 featuring precision style tap and jazz, ballet and contemporary dance, vocal performance and audience interaction. The theater also plans to show classic Christmas movies — such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Polar Express” — during the holiday season.
The theater will also welcome the You and Me tour: An evening with Drew and Ellie Holcomb — a husband and wife duo — at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22. Drew Holcomb serves as frontman of the band Drew Holcomb and Neighbors, a band that his wife stepped out of in 2012 to pursue other ventures. However, the couple has decided to come together for the You and Me tour and are making a stop in Boone to the Appalachian Theatre.
On March 7 at 7:30 p.m. the theater will host The Wailin’ Jennys — a Canadian roots music band with “beautiful vocal harmonies,” according to Kratt.
As the Appalachian Theatre had newly opened, they were still scheduling acts for the coming months. To stay up to date on event dates, visit www.apptheatre.org/ticket-information or call the theater at (828) 865-3000.