The long-anticipated opening of the Appalachian Theatre is expected to happen in October, according to the theater’s Executive Director Laura Kratt.
“We’re announcing the opening, and I feel pretty good that we’re at the last stages of construction, with events starting in October,” Kratt said on June 27.
Kratt said that Vannoy Construction is planned to finish in September and once open, the theater will host several opening events.
“It’s not going to be one grand opening event, it’ll be a whole series that will be targeted to all different musical and artist tastes,” Kratt said.
Currently, the theater is being primed and painted, with scaffolding set to come down in the near future. All the demolition work has been completed, Kratt said.
“The operating systems, such as electrical, lighting, are currently going in,” Kratt said. “The theater seats, we’re expecting them to be installed in the month of August.”
“Everything is at various stages of completion,” Kratt added.
One difference from the old theater will be a second-floor meeting space, formerly where apartments and offices were. The space will include local murals on the walls above the windows that overlook West King Street, Kratt said.
“It’s an almost 1,700-square-foot open meeting space,” Kratt said. “There’s a need for large meeting space in downtown Boone.”
A proposed digital marquee for West King Street is currently unfunded and won’t be a priority until after opening, Kratt said.
The theater opened in 1938 and held live shows until 1950, when the theater was gutted after a fire in the building. The theater re-opened as a movie theater one year later, and remained open until 2007, when the theater closed again. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country formed in 2012 to revitalize the theater.
Theatre searching for missing sconces
As the construction process goes through the summer months, Kratt is trying to solve an old mystery of the giant sconces that once illuminated the sides of the theater.
Currently, the theater has four of the six that were in place when the theater closed in 2009. The location of the other two is unknown.
“There were three on one side and three on the other,” Kratt said. “When you have a theater that closes, things find their way from one place to another.”
The four sconces in the theater’s possession were refurbished by volunteer Hank Thompson.
“It was not an easy job and he did it with extreme care,” Kratt said. “When we got them they were painted and a little rusted. They were in various stages of repair or disrepair.”
The plan is to install them with LED lighting integrated with the regular lighting so the auditorium can be illuminated in a variety of colors.
Kratt said that in her past experiences, when a theater reopens, older artifacts or fixtures have been brought back, and she hopes this is the case with the sconces.
If anyone knows about the location of the two remaining sconces, Kratt asks that they contact the ATHC, located at 559 West King St., Boone, N.C., 28607, by phone at (828) 865-3000 or by email at email@example.com.