Here’s one measure of just how booming the arts are in the Triangle: The bustle has spread well beyond the three core cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill to outlying towns, which have busy arts venues of their own.
One of the biggest and best is the Haw River Ballroom (hawriverballroom.com), a 700-capacity concert hall west of Chapel Hill that occupies the former Dye House of Saxapahaw’s Historic Cotton Mill. Since opening in 2011, Haw River has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most unique theater-sized venues on the East Coast, with key shows this fall including singer/songwriter Justin Townes Earle on Oct. 12 and Wood Brothers on Nov. 19.
To the east, the 600-seat auditorium of the Clayton Center (theclaytoncenter.com) has been open since 2002, and it’s a comfortable space for music and theater events. This fall, look for Annie Moses Band on Oct. 24 and the 3 Redneck Tenors on Dec. 12.
Garner took a 1923 school house that was going to be demolished in 1998 and, over time with community support, turned into the Garner Performing Arts Center (garnerperformingartscenter.com). The building is on the National Historic Register and its expansive stage helps its Broadway Voices series draw talent such as Carly Hughes, who has eight Broadway shows to her name including playing Lucille, the lead Shirelle in “Beautiful.”
The Cary Theater (thecarytheater.com) is an elegant old movie house that was originally built in 1946, then renovated and reopened in 2012. Along with film and live theater, it’s also the primary venue for the Six String Presents acoustic-music series, highlighted this fall by Tim Easton on Sept. 25 and the local-all-star triple-bill of Jon Shain, Joe Newberry and Laurelyn Dossett on Oct. 9.
Less than half a mile from Cary Theater is the Cary Arts Center (townofcary.org), which keeps busy with theater and music – including a Dec. 8 date with the always-fun Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle.
Fall Arts Preview listings
Two stalwarts of the area arts scene are back in operation this season.
Duke University’s Page Auditorium has under a yearlong $5 million renovation to improve acoustics, enhance the sightlines and make the seats more comfortable – all the better to enjoy this year’s concerts in the Duke Performing Arts Series.
Also in Durham, Duke University's Nasher Museum of Art renovated one of its pavilions over the summer in advance of its 10-year anniversary this fall. That occasion will be marked on Oct. 4 with the official unveiling of a new wall painting by African-American abstract artist Odili Donald Odita.
Meanwhile at N.C. State, the 759-seat Stewart Theatre is finally coming online with a grand reopening set for Sept. 17. The theater has closed since 2012, sidelined during the university’s Talley Student Center renovation.
About a mile to the east, the Gregg Museum of Art & Design's $9.1 million expansion is underway at the site of the historic Chancellor's residence near the Bell Tower on Hillsborough Street. The projected completion date is summer 2016, with exhibits probably happening the following spring.