When it comes to performing arts in Durham, most of the attention focuses on the Durham Performing Arts Center, a marvelous venue with the latest technology in acoustics and shows of Broadway quality. But the Bull City has another jewel in the performance crown, and that’s the Carolina Theatre. The venue opened in 1926, and its fans want it to be around for a centennial.
It looks like that might happen. After some financial difficulties, the Carolina Theatre has met a fund-raising goal set by the city and then some. It raised more than the $600,000 in private money the city required as a condition of its own $600,000 matching contribution. The money came from individuals who are fans of the landmark building, but also from respected organizations such as the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, which gave $15,000.
The Carolina is a non-profit, and gets an annual donation from the city, but it annually hosts 60 or so concerts, films and productions from nonprofit groups that draw 150,000 people.
This venue fills a gap. Some performers in small stage productions, for example, don’t need to modern, grand facilities of the DPAC. And in 2017, the Carolina will host acts that fit perfectly the 1,100-seat (roughly) main theater, such as the Canadian folk icon Gordon Lightfoot.
A well-rounded city has a Carolina Theatre, and works to preserve it. Durham can be proud.