Local TheatreNOW venue is closing, future is uncertain

TheatreNow to shut down this summer

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Now that local theater venue TheatreNOW will shut down this August, the Arts Council of Wilmington has expressed interest in finding a use for the location.

Rhonda Bellamy, executive director of the Arts Council of Wilmington in New Hanover County, has been talking to small theater communities about finding appropriate spaces for their productions. TheatreNOW suitably fits that role by providing a small, intimate environment that contrasts with larger theater spaces such as the Wilson Center and Thalian Hall.

Bellamy breaks down the unique brand of TheatreNOW by pointing out that by offering a dinner theater format, the venue successfully stood out.

“It does make it a very unique space and hopefully the right players can come to the table and make certain that it stays within the arts community,” said Bellamy.

Looking to the future, Bellamy explains that Wilmington has a very vibrant theater community.

“We would all like to see it continue and thrive," said Bellamy.

Founder of TheatreNOW, Alisa Harris, owns the building that has housed the organization for seven years and is hoping to lease it out so that the venue will continue to live on.

For all seven years of the theater’s existence, Zach Hanner has been the artistic director for TheatreNOW. Although he expresses sadness that the business is coming to an end, he is optimistic for the future

“The building will be available for lease so I am of the hope that someone comes in and continues doing shows here. It’s a wonderful space and I hope it continues on,” said Hanner. “It’s a wonderful spot for special occasions. People have gotten married here, we’ve had Sweet 16 parties and that sort of thing, so it’s a very versatile space.”

In the case that the TheatreNOW location can no longer be used, he and his colleagues will continue looking for potential spaces for non-profit arts programs.

“I am not a person that’s bothered by change, I am looking forward to the next chapter and I think this place could still be apart of it as we move forward,” Hanner said.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved.