Fade to black

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It is with heavy hearts that we report on the closing of the Turnage Theater today.

A lot of hard work and dedicated perseverance went into restoring the downtown landmark, beginning in the mid-1990s and culminating with the grand reopening Nov. 3, 2007.

For just over four years now, the theater has served as a beacon on Main Street, attracting patrons from near and far. Most locals took great pride in this jewel of the historic Washington district and wanted nothing more than to see it succeed.

For the time being, that vision will dim.

On Dec. 16, the Tar River Swing Band’s “Big Band Christmas” is scheduled to be the final performance in the Turnage. Unless there is a Christmas miracle between now and then, it appears the curtain will fall yet again for an undetermined time.

Our hope is that this is not a lost cause because the Turnage Theater deserves a better fate.

Part of the mission of the Turnage Theaters Foundation was to establish “a cultural center to be used for the performing arts, community gatherings, educational programs, corporate expos and meetings, and private functions for residents and visitors of Eastern North Carolina.”

The Turnage employees deserve a tip of the hat for keeping the theater afloat in a stormy sea of financial uncertainty for as long as they could. Their efforts were Herculean, to say the least.

It may take some restructuring, but our hope and prayer is that this will not become a mission impossible.