Your Blue Ridge Community Theater was founded in 2000 as a 501(c)3, Not For Profit organization. Originally called the Gateway Mountain Players, your Blue Ridge Community Theater is now known locally as BRCT. BRCT had its humble beginning as a “gypsy theater” that performed anywhere there was space. Whether it was in the public school “cafetoriums” (cafeteria/auditorium), open air parks or any empty building, these adventurous volunteers continuously brought theater to appreciative audiences.
Not having a permanent “home”, posed a number challenges for the audience, the actors, and the volunteers. Well, being creative people by nature, the directors and other volunteers devised interesting, innovative and unusual ways to bring quality theater to the region. Somehow and someway, these dedicated volunteers not only made due, they built a strong foundation that continuously focused on both the art and the business of theater.
By 2003, your Blue Ridge Community Theater had its own rented space. Still continuing to grow and increase the quality and the number of shows, the actors, board members, stakeholders and other volunteers made strategic plans and dreamed of one day owning its own home.
These passionate volunteers were able to purchase the present theater at 2591 East First Street (across from the Swan Drive-In) in May, 2009. In July, 2009 the first performance was held. There were both benefits and challenges with the building. It was a large empty space that could accommodate the many different aspects of creating all types of performance theater. As with all of the arts, the funding was limited and needs were many. The dedicated theater volunteers were committed to “make do”, adjust to growing slowly and to continue to produce quality theater.
In the fall of 2009, two sets of theater benefactors, Corrie and John Grado and Angela and Steve Oyer generously donated to lead a matching capital campaign. This generosity fueled a fire storm of support. Donations were contributed in the form of funds from as little as $1 to the donation of services and skills. One anonymous donor purchased new, state of the art theater seating… another patron purchased counter tops for our donated kitchen area, and many volunteered their time and talents. Your Blue Ridge Community Theater is now a “real” theater, designed, built and paid for by the generous contributions of volunteers, community businesses, a dedicated Board of Directors and the loyal support of enthusiastic theater audiences.
In 2013, BRCT will continue its capital fund raising efforts to complete the building. Please consider donations.
While constructing the theater, your Blue Ridge Community Theater was able to continue to grow its art.
From its humble beginnings of producing only two performances of a small, two actor play (Love Letters) your Blue Ridge Community Theater has produced over 50 Main Stage Theater productions. Currently, BRCT Main Stage creates quality theater with 7 productions and more than 80 performances annually.
2002 saw the formation of The Sunny D Children’s Theater. Named in memory of Delores Luckett, Sunny D grew from a small summer program to the first class youth theater it is today. Your Sunny D Theater continues to offer a dynamic and diversified programs to youth from 5 – 18 years. Two two-week-end productions are created each year. There are no charges for these activities. In addition, the two week Sunny D Summer camp continues to grow. In 2013, Sunny D will add a Musical Theater division. Dedicated youth advocates stay actively involved. Because of the generosity of our region, any of the few fees may be covered by scholarship.
Live Music Is Better Concert Series was formed in 2012 to bring quality and diverse musical concerts to your Blue Ridge Community Theater. The venue has proven to be a quality, musical stage that attracts national and international artists.
Education and growth of talent continues to be a vital part of BRCT. This helps insure that quality continues to grow.
Your Blue Ridge Community Theater is an active part of the rich tapestry of the region. Providing a supportive environment and rich productive activities for our Volunteers is a must. Volunteers are our life’s blood. Without these committed individuals we could not create theater.
The business communities support BRCT through service donations, barters, the purchase of advertising in the Playbills, and sponsorships. BRCT is a valued participant in the community and supports it through active involvement in community activities, social welfare contributions, festivals, and public performances. Anyone who has ever been involved with community theater knows that the key to the experience is “community”. From the casts of actors that are assembled from everyday people (who may or may not have experienced the stage before), to crews of active, retired and semi-retired carpenters, painters, seamstresses and publicists, it is truly a community that comes together to create what is often described as a little bit of magic.
As we reflect on and celebrate our history, we look forward to an even more vibrant and successful future!
Come out and play! The magic of theater awaits!
founding Board Member and current President of your Blue Ridge Community Theater.
2011 People’s Telly Ward Winning Video.