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Where are the best venues to see a play or other performing arts?

Judy Royal

Wilmington is the cultural hub of Southeastern North Carolina, and there are plenty of places to see a play, concert or other show.

Amuzu Theatre

This 100-seat, nearly 100-year-old venue located in downtown Southport was once a movie theater. In recent years – after being closed for more than two decades – it has played host to theatrical productions by Stage II Productions as well as to occasional concerts. Major renovations are still needed. Electricity, for example, is supplied by generators and wired in from outside sources.

Location: 111 Howe St., Southport [Map this]

Hours: vary

Phone: (910) 363-4274, (910) 274-3971

Web site: none. For more information click here.

The Brown Coat Pub & Theater

The home of Guerilla Theatre, the Brown Coat hosts a continuous season of plays by professional and local writers, as well as weekly comedy nights with touring and local comedians.

Location: 111 Grace St., Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: open nightly, door times vary

Phone: (910) 233-9914

Web site: http://www.guerillatheatre.com

Gary Lamb (left), James Kurtz and Floy Grace perform at the grand opening of Level Five at City Stage in 2000.

Gary Lamb (from left), James Kurtz and Floy Grace perform at the grand opening of Level Five at City Stage in 2000.

City Stage

Housed in a former 19th-century Masonic temple, this facility (which has an adjoining rooftop bar, Level 5) offers weekly comedy shows and a series of contemporary plays and musicals.

Location: fifth floor of 21 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday

Phone: (910) 342-0272

Web site: http://www.citystageatlevel5.com

Community Arts Center/Hannah Block Historic USO

During World War II, thousands of armed forces personnel who trained in the Wilmington area came to this building for dancing and live entertainment. Managed by the Thalian Association for the city of Wilmington, the Community Arts Center underwent a major renovation in 2008. In addition to plays and concerts, the facility hosts a variety of arts classes, auditions, rehearsals and meetings.

Location: 120 S. Second St., Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays

Phone: (910) 341-7860, (910) 251-1788

Web site: http://www.wilmingtoncac.org

Cultural arts building

UNCW’s Cultural Arts Building is the university’s latest academic and performance facility. The building houses an art gallery for student and faculty exhibitions; a dance studio; the Black Box Theatre; the larger Proscenium Theatre; and the Beckwith Recital Hall, which hosts musical performances.

Location: Randall Drive on the UNCW campus, 601 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: vary

Phone: (910) 962-3500

Web site: http://www.uncw.edu/arts/venues-culturalarts.html

Greenfield Lake Amphitheater

Since 1962, this open-air facility on the banks of Greenfield Lake has hosted plays, concerts and other events, including, since 1994, the annual Shakespeare on the Green festival in June. Earlier this year, the city of Wilmington completed a major renovation that included adding a covered stage, new bathrooms and a perimeter fence.

Location: 1941 Amphitheater Drive, Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: vary

Phone: (910) 341-4604

Web site: http://www.ci.wilmington.nc.us

Kenan Auditorium

With a capacity of just over 1,000, UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium is the largest performing arts venue in New Hanover County. It hosts a variety of lectures, plays and concerts each year, including performances by the N.C. Symphony, Carolina Ballet, Wilmington Symphony Orchestra and Cape Fear Jazz Society.

Location: 601 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (summer hours are noon to 5 p.m.)

Phone: (910) 962-3500 or (800) 732-3643

Web site: http://www.uncw.edu/kenan/

Minnie Evans Art Center

The 955-seat Minnie Evans Art Center, named after the world-renowned Wilmington artist, was built by New Hanover County Schools to host plays, concerts and lectures. Located at Veterans Park next to Ashley High School, the center is also available for rental by outside organizations.

Location: 555 Halyburton Memorial Parkway, Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: vary

Phone: (910) 790-2360, ext. 821

Web site: http://www.geocities.com/nhcscbrumm

Odell Williamson Auditorium

Brunswick Community College’s 1,500-seat auditorium, the largest of its kind in Southeastern North Carolina, hosts theater, music and lectures, including performances from national and local groups, such as the Brunswick Little Theater.

Location: 50 College Road NW, Supply [Map this]

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday

Phone: (910) 755-7416

Web site: http://www.bccowa.com

Red Barn Studio Theatre

Actress and local resident Linda Lavin, a Golden Globe and Tony award-winner, has brought her love for the theater to this space in Wilmington. Lavin’s husband, Steve Bakunas, helped convert the former garage. The Red Barn is also used as an education center, with workshops and acting classes.

Location: 1122 S. Third St., Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: vary

Phone: (910) 762-0955

Web site: http://www.redbarnstudiotheatre.com

Scottish Rite Temple

The temple hosts Scottish Rite Masonic meetings, family reunions and weddings, and rents out its space to local arts groups for performances and fund-raisers.

Location: 1415 S. 17th St., Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday

Web site: http://www.wilmingtonaasr.org

Phone: (910) 762-6452

Thalian Hall placed sixth in the Seven Wonders of the Cape Fear Region poll conducted by www.StarNewsOnline.com.

Thalian Hall placed sixth in the Seven Wonders of the Cape Fear Region poll conducted by www.StarNewsOnline.com.

Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Thalian Hall, which was built in 1858, a time when Wilmington was the largest city in the state. The facility has long been both a political and a cultural center, and houses the city government and two theaters – the 682-seat main stage and a smaller studio theater. Thalian Hall offers a large number of local and touring performances, as well as the long-running Cinematique art film series.

Location: 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: Noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday; open two hours prior to show times on Sundays and Mondays.

Phone: (910) 343-3664 or (800) 523-2820

Web site: http://www.thalianhall.com

Trask Coliseum

Located on the campus of UNCW, Trask Coliseum hosts sporting events and large concerts, including well-known performers for the annual Azalea Festival.

Location: 601 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this]

Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Phone: (910) 962-3233 or (800) 808-8629

Web site: www.uncwsports.com

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One Response to “ Where are the best venues to see a play or other performing arts?”

  1. On January 31, 2011 at 5:36 pm Charlotte Hackman wrote:

    The newest addition to great Wilmington theater venues is The Cape Fear Playhouse,613 Castle Street. It is the home of Big Dawg Productions, a fine theater company in it’s 16th season in Wilmington. The renovated space seats 50 with not a bad seat in the house. Check out their season at their website

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