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Theatre Charlotte keeps legacy and performing arts alive amid challenging 2 years

Theatre Charlotte was not only faced with the restrictions brought on by a pandemic, but an electrical fire damaged its physical space in Dec. 2020.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Theatre Charlotte is keeping the performing arts alive in the Queen City after a challenging two years.

When the pandemic spread to Charlotte in March 2020, the theatre had to pivot and adjust, like many other industries.

Theatre Charlotte had the set for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ready to go when the pandemic shut down performances.

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“We were still thinking, you know, we’ll be able to do something,” said Chris Timmons, acting executive director of Theatre Charlotte. “ You know, it may be a little different schedule than what we’re used to, but then it became clear that this was a much bigger situation.”

The theatre quickly moved to recording virtual performances and doing outdoor performances with small audiences when allowed.

The performers took every opportunity to share their passion, no matter the venue.

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“Man oh man, people were just excited to come out and be outside and just see other people and, you know, hear some great music,” Timmons said.

Before the performers had a chance to move back inside the Theatre Charlotte building, an electrical fire in December 2020 did severe damage to the seats, stage, and more.

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“There was maybe a small moment, a short moment in time when I was, you know, looking at, you know, walking in the building for the first time thinking, ‘Gosh, this is, this is it,’” Timmons said.

But those thoughts didn’t last long, Timmons said. He and those involved with the theatre wouldn’t let its spirit die with the fire.

The artists and performers decided to take the Carolinas’ longest-running community theatre on a road trip to venues around the Queen City for its 94th season.

Timmons said it was a bit of a challenge to try to figure out what venues worked and how the timeframes lined up with their schedule, but they were determined to make it work.”

“It’s in our nature as artists,” Timmons said. “I mean, we find a way, regardless of what the situation is.”

Timmons said work should begin soon to restore the theatre’s physical building, with a goal to reopen by September this year.

“It’s exciting to think about it,” Timmons said, “and I think that’s what we’re all looking forward to, what’s motivating us to keep, keep pushing ahead.”

The theatre looking to keep its legacy alive for 94 years and beyond.

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