Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Dramatic Arts

by Ansley Herring Wegner and Ted Mitchell
Additional research provided by Cecelia Moore.

See also: Opera Houses; Outdoor Dramas; Strolling Players; Thalian Association.

Dramatic Arts- Part 3: Community Theaters and School-Related Programs

Part 3: Community Theaters and School-Related ProgramsLittle Theatre of Charlotte. Image available from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story.

Community theaters in North Carolina have continued to thrive since Koch's time. With the Little Theatre of Charlotte, now known as Theatre Charlotte, opening in 1927, and theaters in Winston-Salem, Brevard, and Raleigh opening in the 1930s, the state has some of the longest-running community theaters in the nation. Perhaps one of the most notable figures to emerge from the community theater scene was Charlton Heston, who, with his wife Lydia, began directing at the Asheville Community Theater in 1947, its second year in operation. According to the North Carolina Theater Conference, by the early 2000s there were at least 117 community theaters serving various cities, counties, and regions in North Carolina.

There are numerous college and university theater programs contributing to theatrical education in the state, with the oldest, the Belmont Abbey Players, having been in continuous production since 1884. Outdoor dramas and summer theaters such as Mars Hill's Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, started in 1975, provide both college students and potential professional theater stock an opportunity for quality theatrical experiences. In addition, secondary school theater programs and privately run youth theaters serve as foundations for developing and training the future performers and technical crews of the state's community and professional theaters.

Keep reading >> Dramatic Arts- Part 4: Professional Companies and Festivals Keep reading


James H. Dormon Jr., Theater in the Ante-Bellum South (1967).

Philip C. Kolin, ed., Shakespeare in the South: Essays on Performance (1983).

Harry Gene Lominac, The Carolina Dramatic Association: Its History, 1922-1962 (1962).

Hugh F. Rankin, The Theater in Colonial America (1965).

Richard Walser, ed., North Carolina Drama (1956).

Charles S. Watson, The History of Southern Drama (1997).

Image Credit:

Little Theatre of Charlotte. Image available from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story. Available from (accessed October 1, 2012).


Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at