Board members

Newly elected board trustees of the Blue Ridge Community Theatre are pictured at a planning session for their first production in 6 years: ‘High Country’s Got Talent!’ From right to left on the front row are Bill Barbour, Emily Jo Spinks, Julie A Richardson, Anna Ward and, on second row, David Shows, Ann Berger, Kathleen Rowell, Fran Greenfield, Daniel Cook, Charlie Ellis and Tommy Light.

The newly reorganized and re-energized Blue Ridge Community Theatre announces their first major production in six years with a kick-off event titled, “High Country’s Got Talent!” with a May 23, 2020 performance scheduled at the Appalachian Theatre on King Street in Boone. Other than a few reader’s theatre and poetry slams, it will be the company’s first full production since the play, “The Red Velvet Cake Wars” in 2014, according to Julie A. Richardson, who was elected president of the theatre’s board of trustees in September.

“We simply couldn’t find a consistent, reliable venue in which to perform, one capable of sustaining the caliber of performances our audiences have come to expect since our founding in 1975,” said Richardson, echoing previous decisions made by the board under past presidents Kathleen Rowell and Bill Barbour, “so we went on a temporary hiatus. Now that the Appalachian Theatre is up and running, we hope to return to a full season of productions, and this unique event will help identify the talent that will form the cornerstone of our rebirth.”

Although based in Boone, the theatre is casting a broad net for its premiere event in hopes of drawing performers from all across the High Country, particularly from Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga and Wilkes counties. After an initial application process, potential performers will be called upon to audition. These auditions will be held from 1:30-5:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 5, at Boone United Methodist Church, located at 471 New Market Boulevard in Boone.

Those interested in auditioning may choose from a variety of performance genres, including solo vocal or group singing, individual or ensemble dance, instrumental music, magic (excluding any pyrotechnics), performance art and storytelling. A panel of judges will select the finalists for the May 23 event at Appalachian Theater. Prizes will be awarded to the winner and each of the runners-up.

Richardson, a professional director and stage manager who was inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame class of the South Eastern Theatre Conference, isn’t alone in the effort to revitalize the company. The board consists of a veritable “who’s who” of theatre mainstays in the High Country, including longtime Watauga High School Pioneer Playmakers director Trimella Chaney, Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre founder Janet Barton Speer and retired Appalachian State University Professor of Speech Linda Welden.

Leading the effort to reenergize the theatre is an executive committee consisting of president Richardson, vice president Ann Berger, treasurer Freda Smith, co-secretaries Kathleen Rowell and Anna Ward, along with past president Bill Barbour. Blue Ridge Community Theatre trustees include Trimella Chaney, Emily Jo Church, Daniel Cook, Charlie Ellis, Tommy Light and David Shows. Speer and Welden serve as ex-officio trustees, and the volunteers are led by Mark Barber, Jason Church, Casey Courtney and Fran and Dan Greenfield.

For more information, to volunteer, receive an initial application or for further audition details, visit the theatre’s website at

(1) comment


This is great news! The High Country definitely has untapped talent, many of whom aspire to become professional (e.g. make a living at theater arts). Under this team, those aspirations can become reality for those with not only talent, but who have the discipline and stamina to survive and thrive. Break a Leg!

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