Flat Rock Playhouse Granted $30K for Educational and Family Programming

Flat Rock Playhouse Granted $30K for Educational and Family Programming

The Flat Rock Playhouse has been awarded a grant of $30,000 by the Community Foundation of Henderson County.

According to the Playhouse, the grant will be used for Studio 52, Flat Rock Playhouse's educational initiative and family programming. In recent years, Studio 52 has produced family shows with such notable productions as The Wizard of Oz, James and the Giant Peach, and most recently, Disney's The Little Mermaid.

"It is a wonderful honor to have been awarded this grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson County in recognition of our new Studio 52 Family Series Programming. Our 2017 season is the litmus test for this new initiative and so far the results have been extremely encouraging," says Lisa K. Bryant, Producing Artistic Director for the Playhouse.

"Importantly, this generous grant will allow us to grow our Family Programming further so that we may continue to provide quality theatre and training at an affordable cost to both the students involved and the audiences coming to see them. We are encouraged by the Foundation's generosity, and overjoyed for their support."

There are three shows remaining in the 2017 Studio 52 Family Series. You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Pinkalicious The Musical, and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

"After the recent completion of the strategic plan by the Flat Rock Playhouse, we are excited to help implement the Studio 52, children and family component of this plan," stated McCRay Benson, President/CEO of the Community Foundation. "The work the Playhouse has completed thus far has placed them on the path for a very positive direction. This is particularly significant for such a key charitable organization in our community."

In 1937, a group of struggling performers, led by Robroy Farquhar, organized themselves as the Vagabond Players. The Vagabonds worked in a variety of places over the course of three years, and in 1940 found themselves in the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina. The local and tourist community welcomed them with open arms when they presented their first summer season of plays in a 150-year-old grist mill they converted into The Old Mill Playhouse at Highland Lake. So successful was that summer, they returned in 1941. After WWII, the Vagabond Players reorganized, came back to the region and opened a playhouse in nearby Lake Summit. The Lake Summit Playhouse thrived during the post war years and soon the Vagabond Players were looking for a larger and permanent home. In 1952, the troupe of performers, and a newly formed board of directors, made an offer to buy an 8-acre lot in the Village of Flat Rock. This new home made the Vagabonds "locals" and a rented big top gave birth to Flat Rock Playhouse. As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now a nine-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences. The Playhouse's dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a professional series; a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program; and Studio 52, family focused programming that provides immersive, hands-on theatrical experiences for children in kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 98,000 patrons annually and is a significant contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.

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