On with the show
No matter which side someone takes in the debate over the termination of John Vogt as executive director of the Turnage Theaters Foundation, the opening of the rehabilitated Turnage complex will usher in an opportunity for prosperity.
That prosperity should reach beyond the city. The county, northeastern North Carolina and areas beyond those places will be able to share in the prosperity that the opening of the historic theater promises.
The renovated, restored and revitalized Turnage complex is more than just about bringing entertainment and culture to Washington.
During that meeting, the chancellor talked about ECU’s five-point game plan for the future. ECU’s five directions are 21st-century education, being a leadership university, building the economy of the eastern part of the state, health care and medical innovation and the arts, culture and entertainment.
Ballard said ECU’s partnership with the Turnage Theaters Foundation focuses on two of the five directions — economic development and culture. The chancellor said the partnership and a rehabilitated Turnage complex “adds to the cultural attractiveness of the area.”
That alliance will be visibly evident next summer.
Earlier this year, John Shearin, director of ECU’s School of Theatre and Dance, said his school will produce performances at the Turnage Theaters complex next summer as ECU’s McGinnis Theatre is being renovated. After that renovation is completed, Shearin said, ECU plans to put on some of its productions at the McGinnis Theatre and other productions at the Turnage complex.
With ECU’s productions being staged at the Turnage complex next summer, that means theater-goers will be coming to Washington. There’s no doubt some of those visitors will want to dine in Washington restaurants before or after their stops at the Turnage. Other visitors will visit businesses in the city. Some visitors may decided to spend a night or two in the city.
And wouldn’t it be nice for those visitors to be able to stay in a downtown hotel? They could check in, go to their rooms, dress for the performance at the Turnage, leave the hotel to eat downtown, go to the performance, have coffee or cocktails after the show and return to their rooms. All this done by walking no more than two or three blocks.
All those activities result in economic development.
This past spring, Jim Chesnutt, head of National Spinning and a Turnage Theaters Foundation board member, echoed Ballard’s remarks concerning the Turnage’s expected effects on the region. Chesnutt, who’s being honored this weekend by the East Carolina Alumni Association for his contributions in bringing economic development to eastern North Carolina, said there’s no doubt in his mind the Turnage complex, once it’s open for business, will play an important role in bringing economic development to eastern North Carolina.
Perhaps a return to its history will help move the city into a better future.
On with the show — and the economic development.