Theatre Of Dare Faces Housing Crisis
Mold at COA forces theatre group to scramble for show venues
(Manteo, NC) – On the precipice of its 27th season, Theatre of Dare finds itself in a serious housing crisis.
After a rainy summer, the COA Auditorium in Manteo that the community theatre group called home for more than 20 years has become overrun with mold. Dare County officials have told TOD that the cost to remediate the problem is prohibitive, and that the auditorium will likely be closed permanently.
Appearing before the Dare County Board of Commissioners Monday, Theatre of Dare President Don Bridge asked for the county’s help in finding a new home for performing arts in the area. “We are the only true community theatre group in the entire region,” said Bridge. “We hope Dare County will consider the need to keep
local performing arts alive on the Outer Banks.”
In the meantime, TOD is scrambling to find performance space for the five productions it has slated for its upcoming season. The first production, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, will open October 20 in the Soundstage building on the grounds of The Lost Colony. TOD’s Christmas show, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!), will be a traveling, dinner theatre-type show that will be produced at several venues across the Outer Banks.
That leaves Theatre of Dare’s three 2018 productions Almost Maine, Cabaret, and Love, Sex, and the I.R.S. without places to perform. Board members have begun an intense search for venues to cover this season’s productions and beyond.
“It’s a little bit ironic,” said Theatre of Dare Vice-President Tim Hass. “We’ve had a really good run of shows artistically for the past several seasons, and last winter’s Spamalot was probably the most commercially successful show we’ve ever had. So we felt like the group was really on a roll. And now we’re homeless.”
However, TOD Board Members see this as both an existential challenge and an opportunity. They’re hoping this crisis helps them form stronger bonds with the artistic community across the entire Outer Banks, and eventually leads to a new, permanent performing arts space for Theatre of Dare and other local arts groups.
(Daniel Ziegler, Katelyn Rea, and Tim Hass perform in Theatre of Dare’s ‘Boeing Boeing’ last spring. The auditorium where TOD shows have been held for more than 20 years is now infested with mold and unlikely to reopen.)