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Appalachian Theatre Group 25 Percent Away from Completing Silent Fundraising Goal

The Appalachian Twin Theater years ago.
The Appalachian Twin Theater years ago.

By Jesse Wood

Earlier this week, Appalachian Theatre of the High Country Chair John Cooper announced to the Downtown Boone Development Association (DBDA) that the 75 percent of the “silent phase” fundraising goal has been reached.

On Thursday, June 4 from 5 to 6 p.m. financial contributors to the historic theatre restoration project will be invited to a celebration of another announcement – the ending of the silent phase capital campaign.

“When it’s at 50 percent [potential donors] have doubts, but when it is at 75 percent they can see it’s a reality,” Cooper said on Thursday. “Going public with the campaign will help. That’s kind of where are.”

Soon the campaign office located directly beside the theatre will have regular hours for people to drop by and learn about the project and contribution opportunities and see the inside of the bare structure

As it is right now, potential donors can leave a message for John Cooper at the Mast General Store at 828-963-6511 or send an email through the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country website.

Cooper said that people who have received a tour of the insides are amazed at the sheer volume of the building with its future seating capacity of 675 and the fact that it isn’t just a remake of an old movie theatre.

“It will have a stage for live performances – music, theatre and dance – and the newest plans indicate an orchestra pit, which means live opera from the university can be performed there as well as music,” Cooper said. “It will just be a very, very versatile theatre. We are excited about the wonderful opportunities.”

In November 2011, the Town of Boone purchased the old theatre for $624,500 in a foreclosure auction, which included $75,000 of Downtown Boone Development Association funds (DBDA), and the DBDA agreed to payback the Town of Boone the remaining $549,500 within three years and restore the theatre to its original 1938 appearance.

After the theatre was purchased the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country nonprofit was created to take over the theatre restoration and future operations. In 2013, the nonprofit repaid the Town of Boone for purchasing the theatre in foreclosure.

The nonprofit has set a goal to open the restored theatre on Nov. 14, 2015, which coincides with the 77th birthday of the old Appalachian Theatre.