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Professional Theater

Children's Theatre of Charlotte

Children's Theatre of Charlotte

North Carolina's long-established professional theater companies mount contemporary as well as classic stage performances. Community-based and summer theaters thrive across the state, while independent companies premiere original works from local playwrights along with fresh interpretations of the classics. Professional theater companies include the Flat Rock Playhouse in Hendersonville, officially designated as the State Theater of North Carolina; Playmakers Repertory Theater, UNC-Chapel Hill's Department of Dramatic Art's professional theater; the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival in High Point, which holds the designation of State Shakespeare Festival; Children's Theater of Charlotte, reaching 300,000 children and families annually; and the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater in Mars Hill, which has produced professional theater since 1975 in an area long considered to be culturally and economically deprived.

Urban areas are home to independent companies including Durham's Manbites Dog Theater, founded in 1987, which produces new and challenging theatrical events; Triad Stage in Greensboro, a world-class performing arts center established in a long-vacant Montgomery Ward building; Actors Theater of Charlotte, which produces bold and innovative new works by contemporary playwrights; and Burning Coal Theater Company in Raleigh, which is committed to the idea of affecting change through theater. The North Carolina Black Repertory Company hosts the biennial National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, widely acknowledged to be a premiere showcase for African-American playwrights and artists.

Flat Rock Playhouse

Flat Rock Playhouse

Considered the birthplace of the outdoor symphonic drama, North Carolina now is home to 11 historical summer plays which have entertained and informed generations of visitors. The Lost Colony chronicles the mysterious disappearance of the New World's first British settlement on Roanoke Island in 1587. Unto These Hills tells the story of the forced removal of the Cherokee by Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1540 and their struggle along the "Trail of Tears." The nation's oldest Revolutionary War drama, Horn in the West, recounts the adventures of frontiersman Daniel Boone fighting for freedom against the British. Tom Dooley: A Wilkes County Legend dramatizes the well-known Civil War-era love triangle that resulted in the murder of Laura Foster and the popular "Ballad of Tom Dooley." The Institute for Outdoor Drama, based at UNC-Chapel Hill, is the only national organization providing training, research and assistance to more than 120 constituent theater companies across the U.S.

Learn more about:

North Carolina Department of Cultural ResourcesLogin

The North Carolina Arts Council is a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, a state agency.
Susan Kluttz, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor

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