Leader calls theater community property
Opening night just weeks away
By NIKIE MAYO, News Editor
Coming off what he calls “a wild two weeks,” the new executive director of Turnage Theaters Foundation says he has a singular mission: To let people know that a piece of community property is about to make its long-awaited debut.
The foundation has had a stormy chapter recently, with former leader John Vogt being fired Aug. 14 and Chumbley being named to replace him almost immediately. But Chumbley says the only drama he is interested in is the kind that will soon make its way to the 1930s-era theater on Washington’s Main Street.
Chumbley is assuming his role as director on an interim basis. The terms of his contract have him sticking around until early January.
In the meantime, he has all the shows from Nov. 3 through Jan. 1 “solidly booked and contracted,” he said. But he isn’t offering any hints about what is to come after the gala, which involves artists from East Carolina University.
What Chumbley will say is that “you’ll see a little bit of everything,” including classical, jazz and folk concerts, and certainly, “straight-up theater.”
The restoration effort began in 1996. Since then, more than $2.5 million has been put toward rehabilitating the theater. In the second phase of the project, a 1913 Vaudeville stage will be revived.
But for now, Chumbley is focused on a successful opening night.
Part of making sure the opening is successful is keeping ticket prices reasonable. Tickets will range from $12.50 for a child’s seat to $35 for the best seat in the house. And Chumbley says for his money, the best seats are the first two rows of the balcony.