Turnage Theater ready to help merchants

Published 12:39 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

I just returned to the Turnage this past Monday after a two-week hiatus. I spent the first week in New Hampshire with my son, who was attending a hockey camp for goalies. The weather was perfect — highs no more than 80 degrees with little or no humidity, but in the background we were aware of the news reports about this Hurricane Irene, which at that time, was a Category 3 hurricane just making its way to the Bahamas. Little could I imagine the impact Irene would soon have on eastern North Carolina and up the East Coast.

At the Turnage Theater, we believe we were lucky; we appear to have been spared any major damage. The stage will require some new flooring panels and the original Vaudeville Theater lost some vertical, tin exterior panels, causing some minor water damage in the main building. We await an inspection to ensure that we have not missed anything, but, all in all, the Turnage is secure, and we continue to move forward with our 2011-2012 season.

Unfortunately, some of our Main Street neighbors were not as lucky. Our hopes and hearts go out to businesses like Charisma Boutique and the Little Shoppes of Washington, and G.W. Walker & Sons, who were hit hard with severe roof damage.  Those businesses have been strong supporters of the Turnage, and so if we can be of any assistance to them, we would be grateful for the opportunity. With the need for businesses to occupy downtown storefronts, it’s important we retain those already in place. I also realize other merchants were affected as well, and I want to extend the same offer of support to them.

I hope this experience will bring us closer together in our support of the community. It is hard to see beyond the moment sometimes, particularly if you are like me and still waiting for the power to come back on at home. But this has been a wonderful experience in that it has made me aware of how lucky we are to have power in the first place, as well as all of the other conveniences we tend to take for granted in this great nation. I realize it won’t be long before life returns to normal, and we get back into our routines. I just hope that we can establish a stronger routine of mutual support along the way.

And on a lighter note: I hope that you have had an opportunity to have a look at the listing of shows for the 2011-2012 season. If you have not received the very attractive announcement flier created by the Turnage’s Katherine Buchholz, we have plenty to share here at the box office, and of course, the entire list of events is available on our website at turnagetheater.com. Remember as you plan your order that you can receive discounts depending on the number of shows you wish to see.  Katherine will be happy to assist you with your selections and questions.

May the cleanup in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene move swiftly, and may the businesses and lives affected return to balance, including some time to sit back and relax … hopefully … here at the Turnage.

Scotty Henley is executive director of the Turnage Theaters Foundation.