Encore Theatre Company was used to staging productions in cramped quarters.
But those days are over with the troupe’s move to the second and third floors of the three-story Arts of the Albemarle Center – commonly known as The Center – in the heart of Elizabeth City.
In 2009, the 19-year-old troupe moved to the recently renovated 1897 red brick building on Main Street. The new location provides an ideal and perhaps fitting setting for the Encore Theatre, since the landmark structure once served as an opera and Vaudeville house in the early 1900s.
“Live theater on Main Street in any city is a sign that a community is vibrant and things are happening, and that is the case here in Elizabeth City,” says Mary Cherry, president of Encore Theatre Company.
“Our playhouse inside The Center is officially called the Maguire Theatre, and the Maguire has seating for 230 compared to our former downtown building that had seating for 120.”
That former building had the Encore situated on a second floor above the Pasquotank Arts Council, and patrons attending performances at the old theater would have to climb several steps to arrive at their seats.
“Now, our current home in The Center is equipped with an elevator to get people to the second floor main seating area or the third-floor balcony of the Maguire, and the entire building is handicap-accessible,” Cherry says. “Our city leaders showed great foresight in moving this community theater into such a classic yet updated facility on Main Street.”
The first production in the Maguire took place in May 2009.
“We did seven shows, and all of them sold out,” Cherry says. “It was an exciting beginning.”
The Encore’s season runs from November to May, with three individual plays scheduled each season. The troupe strives to stage a musical, comedy and a drama in its annual lineup.
“All tickets for each of our shows are $15, which is a good price to see some quality live entertainment,” she says. “And we’re always looking for more volunteers to get involved with our group. We always need ushers, actors, set designers, backstage helpers – even someone to help launch a Web page. People can get as involved as they want to be with Encore Theatre Company.”
Read more on the arts in Elizabeth City, NC.