BOONE — While the COVID-19 pandemic renders the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country unable to be occupied by audiences, theater officials are excited that the space has been reopened for a year after a $10 million restoration and construction project.
A sold-out concert jump-started the theater’s grand re-opening on Oct. 14, 2019. John McEuen and the String Wizards were the first on the Doc Watson Stage for Americana Music, joined by local Liam Purcell of Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road. The grand opening celebration culminated in a sold-out show by Sam Bush.
During the theater’s first five months of operation, the venue hosted 8,217 visitors and 26 events, according to Executive Director Laura Kratt.
The Appalachian Theatre first opened in November 1938, and operated for nearly 70 years until its closure in 2007, according to the App Theatre. The theater was acquired in 2013 by a nonprofit entity — the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country — with the intention of restoring the theatre to its original glory days.
The theater’s last event was the sold-out Wailin’ Jennys concert on March 7, whereafter the theater has been unable to host events due to COVID-19. ATHC Chair Keith Martin has previously asked visitors not to fret, as this time during the pandemic is “just an intermission.”
Kratt has said that Appalachian Theatre staff had been working full-time remotely while the venue is closed to walk-in traffic. Martin said theater officials have been looking at floor plans and seating charts to figure out how to host shows at the theater for audiences with social distancing requirements.
For more information about Appalachian Theatre, visit www.apptheatre.org.
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