Arts of the Pamlico adds more to the entertainment menu

Published 7:59 pm Thursday, December 29, 2016

There’s a standing invitation to send 2016 out with a laugh.

Friday night, I.C. Improv performs at Arts of the Pamlico’s Turnage Theatre in downtown Washington. With a cast of five, the improvisational troupe takes suggestions from the audience — no matter how outlandish — and creates comedy on the spot.

“We don’t rehearse; we make it up right before your eyes! No two shows are ever the same and we wouldn’t have it any other way!” reads a flier from the group.

The shows have proven popular over the last several months, and according to AOP staff, they’re part of a larger plan initiated in 2016 to appeal to a broad audience. Continuing in the same vein is in store for 2017, according to Debra Torrence, executive director of Arts of the Pamlico.

“(It’s) going to be an exciting year of arts and culture!” Torrence wrote in an email.

Already on the schedule for 2017 are two film festivals: Glass Tulip Film Festival for amateur and student filmmakers in April and Main on Marquee Film Festival for independent professional and student filmmakers in September. AOP plans to partner with the Belle of Washington to create the AOP Pamlico Floating Theatre and launch a “Show Boat” production during the summer on the waterfront in Washington and Bath, much like the Lost Colony offers in Manteo, Torrence wrote. In September, the Hands on Art Festival will return, and a blues festival at the theater is slated for late October.

“All will be wrapped around by other fundraisers (Jan. 28 Studio 54 gala and December Holiday Homes Tour), ongoing monthly art exhibits and member receptions and kids productions, music concerts, streamed Broadway productions on the big screen starting next month, monthly movies — some with live music played to them, starting in February with ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?,’ monthly (documentaries) coupled with a jazz series in the art café, community theater productions on stage every quarter, concerts, benefits, comedy, writings and readings, workshops, open studio for artists, open weekly free music traditional and rock jams and ECU collaborations including Storybook and student theatre and an opera in November!” Torrence wrote.

Priority will also be on children’s programming in 2017 with a plan to grow the school of the arts for kids, children’s productions and summer camps, she said.

And art is everywhere, according to Torrence.

“We are now curating art in three spaces … Turnage gallery on (the) left as you look at (the) front, Lane Gallery is the anteroom/hall and the Art Café is far right,” she said.

There are hopes there will also be a revival of the old vaudeville theater — the original theater that once hosted onstage both Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger.

I.C. Improv — I.C. short for Intellectually Challenged — will usher in Arts of the Pamlico’s coming year of changes, performance and partnerships at 8 p.m. tonight. Admission is $5.

“We want to help you get ready for the end of the year,” according to a statement from the group. “We don’t know what 2017 will bring, but we do know that we need a laugh at the end of 2016. What a wild and wacky year it has been, so join us for a wild and wacky night to sit back and have a good laugh at it!”

The Turnage Theatre is located at 150 W. Main St., Washington. For more information, call 252-946-2504 or visit