Flat Rock Playhouse receives $15k grant

Press release from Flat Rock Playhouse: 

“Flat Rock Playhouse has been awarded a grant of $15,000 by the Perry N. Rudnick Endowment Fund of the Community Foundation of Henderson County,” said Dane Whitlock, Senior Director of Marketing & Development at Flat Rock Playhouse.

According to Whitlock, the restricted grant will specifically be used to invest in sound equipment needed for the newly revamped Flat Rock Playhouse Studio 52 Family Series and Education Initiative. “Studio 52 has expanded the 2017 Family Series programming from two fully produced productions to five,” said Whitlock. “This will increase the opportunities for live theatre participation for over 150 students, and will provide affordable, family programming to over 12,000 patrons.”

In previous seasons, Studio 52 productions have been able to use the same body microphones that are also utilized for Mainstage productions.  However, with the increased Family Series line-up, this shared scenario will no longer be possible.  The grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County will provide the additional resources the Playhouse needs to invest in a separate set of sound equipment for the 2017 Studio 52 production schedule, thereby increasing the quality of the productions and the patron experience.

Flat Rock Playhouse, the State Theatre of North Carolina, was founded in 1952 and serves over 90,000 patrons annually. Lisa K. Bryant is the Producing Artistic Director and Paige Posey is chairperson of the Board of Directors.
Community Foundation of Henderson County supports charitable programs in the greater Henderson County area.  It was founded in 1982 and administers over 500 funds with assets of over $85 million.


In 1937, a group of struggling performers, led by Robroy Farquhar, organized themselves as the Vagabond Players. The Vagabonds worked in a variety of places over the course of three years, and in 1940 found themselves in the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina. The local and tourist community welcomed them with open arms when they presented their first summer season of plays in a 150-year-old grist mill they converted into The Old Mill Playhouse at Highland Lake. So successful was that summer, they returned in 1941. After WWII, the Vagabond Players reorganized, came back to the region and opened a playhouse in nearby Lake Summit. The Lake Summit Playhouse thrived during the post war years and soon the Vagabond Players were looking for a larger and permanent home. In 1952, the troupe of performers, and a newly formed board of directors, made an offer to buy an 8-acre lot in the Village of Flat Rock. This new home made the Vagabonds “locals” and a rented big top gave birth to Flat Rock Playhouse. As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now a nine-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences. The Playhouse’s dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; and Studio 52, family focused programming that provides immersive, hands-on theatrical experiences for children in kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 90,000 patrons annually and is a significant contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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