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Appalachian Theater Concepts, Realities Put Forward PDF Print
Written by Gary Childers   
Thursday, 10 May 2012 06:06

Can a renovated Appalachian Theater meet it’s 1938 debut reviews? “Maybe, in a couple of years, the Watuaga Democrat can have the same quote they had in November of 1938 when the theater opened, ‘The Appalachian Theater is one of the state’s finest playhouses.’” That’s how Frank Mohler concluded his presentation of the conceptual ideas being proposed for the restoration and renovation of Boone’s Appalachian Theater.  All that stands in the way is, well, money—paying back the town of Boone for buying the building and the estimated $4 million in renovations. The group gathered at Belk Library Tuesday evening, with Pilar Fotta, of the Downtown Boone Development Association conducted the information session hosted by the High Country Theatre League for all prospective users of the Appalachian Theater. Fota, DBDA director, provided an overview of the “Save the Appalachian Theater” project, “We’ve been working diligently to try to get a group formed that will then form its own nonprofit, at which point we can pay the building off, repay the town the loan, and come to terms at which it can be deeded over so long as it meets certain conditions, and that is that it will serve the community.” Fotta said the current planning committee believes six million dollars is needed to insure a successful launch of the project, four million for capital improvements alone to the facility. The DBDA has started making payments on the Town’s loan, according to Fotta. Dr. Frank Mohler, Professor Emeritus ASU Department of Theater and Dance, showed the gathering a PowerPoint of conceptual renderings of the restoration and renovations the current committee thinks can be done for the proposed 4 million dollars. That vision shows the old theater appealing to a wide variety of audiences and being a community facility used for multiple functions; meetings, lectures, cinema, concerts of all types, solo acts, theater, opera, and dance. He also said the smaller stage area and limited height above the state is a reality, maybe preventing larger productions and those needing fly towers and the like. Martin asked the potential users who were present to fill out questionnaires, offer suggestions, and indicate any possible use of the theater. This information will be taken to planners and an agency has been employed to use the data for a formula on the feasibility of the financial support locally and regionally to sustain the fund raising effort, and that will be used to make a final determination as to where the project will go.


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