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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Theater News: Common Ground Theatre to Go Dark in December

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Common Ground Theatre, the influential, intimate Durham venue that has nurtured regional independent theater and improv comedy throughout its twelve-year run, is set to cease operations next month. Last night, executive director Shelby Hahn told the INDY that he will step down at the end of December. Hahn took the post in July 2015 after the departure of former director Devra Thomas. Following an unsuccessful search across the theatrical community for his replacement, the company’s board decided to cease operations when Hahn leaves. Rachel Klem and Michelle Byars created the theater in 2005 to provide an affordable rehearsal and...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Discover Ovation Cinema Grill 9 in Holly Springs, the Latest Addition to the Boutique Multiplex Scene

Posted By on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 3:41 PM

The light green accents scattered throughout Carmike Cinemas’s Ovation Cinema Grill 9 in Holly Springs suggest, ever so subtly, the vintage Art Deco motif of the early twentieth century’s golden age of movie houses. It’s the last bit of nostalgia you’re likely to detect in western Wake County’s newest cinema, the latest addition to the burgeoning boutique movie theater scene. The long-gestating Holly Springs multiplex concludes a weeklong soft opening tomorrow and begins showing first-run films on Thursday, October 13. The nine-screen theater includes eight traditional screens, three of them 3-D capable. It also sports Carmike’s branded BigD auditorium, only the...

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Tale of Two Galleries: Raleigh’s Lump and Flanders to Merge

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:02 AM

In a lot of ways, Bill Thelen and Kelly McChesney’s stories as gallery directors couldn’t be more different. But they have been subtly bending toward each other for years, which culminates in the merger of the two galleries under one name and director, functionally by the end of this year and officially in February. Thelen is an artist; you can see one of his pieces in Southern Accent at the Nasher right now. Twenty years ago, he founded the experimental, collective-spirited project space Lump, as if bringing a grungy little slice of Bushwick to Blount Street, and never moved. McChesney...

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Performers, New Personnel, and New Venues Enliven Durham Independent Dance Artists' 2016–17 Season [Updated]

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 9:56 AM

Durham Independent Dance Artists has just unveiled its third season. Eight performances across 2016–17 include a handful of artists new to DIDA—including one international choreographer, collaborating with Culture Mill's Tommy Noonan—in addition to local mainstays. The new season is also marked by key venue and personnel changes. Since its start, DIDA has positioned itself as an adaptive organization, shape-shifting to meet its original aim: to strategically bring together resources and promotional support in order to solidify the independent dance scene in Durham. This season, DIDA extends its emphasis on nontraditional performance spaces; none of the 2016–17 shows will take place...

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Announcing Open Auditions in Raleigh for the Inaugural Women's Theatre Festival

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 7:43 AM

In March, we reported on the Triangle's new Women’s Theatre Festival, which will debut this August. Conceptualized by Raleigh’s Ashley Popio and developed by a group of local women in theater, it will feature plays written and directed by women, with women composing the majority of the casts. Now, WTF has announced open auditions for anyone who wants to be a part of the festival. The auditions will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 at Raleigh’s Sonorous Road Theatre. Women, men, and children are all welcome to audition; sign up for an appointment at...

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bill Thelen to Step Down as Director of Pioneering Raleigh Gallery Lump

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 12:56 PM

An upcoming installation by the Team Lump collective, Arise! Bald Man! King of Hair People!, will close Lump’s twentieth-anniversary season. It also marks an even bigger milestone: the end of Bill Thelen's long tenure as the director of the Raleigh gallery.  In an email to the INDY today, Thelen confirmed that he’ll step down in July. “The space will move to being a nonprofit with a new director, and I'll still be on the advising board,” he says. “There is going to be a reconfiguring of the space in the near future. We are really excited about taking Lump into a new...

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

North Carolina's Independent Bookstores Band Together Against HB 2

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 11:25 AM

Naturally, the open letter that independent bookstores across the state sent to the governor’s office and circulated online late last week begins by quoting a book. The petitioners use Ray Oldenburg’s assertion that “third places … are the heart of a community's social vitality and the grassroots of democracy” to frame their argument for the repeal of House Bill 2. “As independent bookstores providing that third place in communities across our state,” the letter continues, “we believe it is essential to be non-discriminatory, inclusive and tolerant, to promote freedom of speech and equality, and to guard against censorship and...

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Andy Warhol Museum Director Cancels Visit to UNC's MFA Class—Guess Why

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Thus far, many of the headline-grabbing HB-2-related boycotts have come from the worlds of business (Paypal, Deutsche Bank) and music (Springsteen, Ringo, and, today, Ani DiFranco). But the backlash is being felt in less commercial spheres as well. Eric C. Shiner, director of The Andy Warhol Museum, had planned to visit North Carolina later this month to offer critiques to MFA students at UNC-Chapel Hill as part of the school’s Visiting Artist Professionals program. Due to HB 2, Shiner will no longer be making the trek down from Pittsburgh. UNC art professor elin o’Hara slavick published on Facebook yesterday the...

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Broadway Composer Stephen Schwartz Halts N.C. Shows to Protest HB 2, Encourages Others to Follow

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 3:14 PM

When Gov. McCrory called opposition to HB 2 “political theater,” he probably didn’t foresee a response from the national theater community. But now the curtain’s going up on the state’s first professional entertainment embargo, one whose effects have the potential to change the face of theater and other live entertainment in North Carolina. It follows a flood of negative responses from businesses, institutions, and civic groups, local and international. Broadway World reported Thursday night that composer Stephen Schwartz has revoked performance rights to his musicals in North Carolina in protest of the legislation, which denies transgender people the right to use the...

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Carolina Theatre CEO Bob Nocek resigns

Posted By on Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 2:52 PM

The Carolina Theatre of Durham announced today that President and CEO Bob Nocek is stepping down immediately. His departure comes after the discovery last December that the city-owned theater, thought to be profitable, had run up $800,000 in debt since July 2013, creating a total deficit of more than $1 million. Nocek, who took the reins of the historic theater in 2010, will be succeeded by Durham businessman Dan Berman as interim president and CEO. Working as a volunteer, Berman takes control of the Carolina’s finances, operations and programming on Monday, Jan. 25. Watch this space for more on this story...

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

PlayMakers Repertory Company appoints Obie-winning actor and director Vivienne Benesch as its new leader

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 8:47 AM

In a press release yesterday afternoon, PlayMakers Repertory Company announced that Vivienne Benesch will become its new producing artistic director as of Jan. 1, 2016, replacing outgoing artistic director Joseph Haj. Benesch, who was chosen from group of five finalists after a six-month national search, has directed three shows at PlayMakers in the past five years. She takes the position shortly before her fourth, a production of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, opens on Jan. 20. She was tapped to direct the show for the company’s current season in March, more than two months before the selection process for the new artistic...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Durham Independent Dance Artists reveals its second season of local indie dance

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 1:00 PM

After an impressive 2014–15 debut season that significantly raised the profile of local independent dance, Durham Independent Dance Artists returns with an exciting lineup for 2015–16. Running from October to May, the nine shows include six premieres, seven artists not previously seen on DIDA stages and, for the first time, an international guest. DIDA bundles works by local independent artists into a season that tracks with the academic presenters' schedule, helping them build the surface area required to attract audiences. It paid off with many sold-out houses in the first season—no small feat in a region where indie dance more typically attracts...

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Hopscotch Design Festival reveals initial speaker lineup

Posted By on Mon, Aug 3, 2015 at 9:07 AM

A smaller-scale offshoot of the Hopscotch Music Festival, the Hopscotch Design Festival brings the same walkabout experience to the world of engineering and entrepreneurship, spotlighting people who are designing the near-future. The festival has just announced the initial speaker lineup you’ll see when it returns Sept. 9–10. In its inaugural run last September, Hopscotch Design drew a modest 800 attendees to Raleigh for two days of talks, workshops and parties in various downtown venues. This year, it brings another mix of local and national presenters, from small start-ups and huge corporations, who work across the fields of graphic design, architecture,...

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Manbites Dog Theater announces 2015/16 season

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 4:06 PM

Manbites Dog Theater announced its upcoming 2015/16 season today. As usual, the Durham-based company will feature four resident productions, supplemented by an “Other Voices” series of guest artists. The company’s 29th year includes encore productions of noted recent shows by StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance and The Delta Boys. The season opens in October with the regional premiere of Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Anne Washburn’s dark comedy, in which an episode of The Simpsons slowly takes on different meanings to survivors of an apocalypse. In December, StreetSigns remounts its five-star production of Howard Craft's Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel...

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Local plays about video game culture and Eugene O’Neill win national recognition

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Local playwrights Adrienne Earle Pender and Allan Maule have travel plans to make. This fall, Pender will be the third recipient of a new artist residency at the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, and Maule’s EverScape will be produced in August at the New York International Fringe Festival. Raleigh's Theatre in the Park has produced two of Pender's plays: The Rocker and Somewhere in Between. Her work has also been presented at the National Black Theatre Festival, Edward Albee’s Last Frontier Theatre Conference and the Drama Book Shop in New York. But it was luck, she says, that led her to the...

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

North Carolina Museum of Art’s Judaic Art Gallery reopens with larger selection

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 3:44 PM

All manner of renovations are underway at the North Carolina Museum of Art, and one of them has just come to completion. After being closed for five months, the Museum’s Judaic Art Gallery reopens July 1 with more space, new custom-designed glass cases and a larger selection of Jewish ceremonial objects on display. The renovated gallery is 50 percent larger than it used to be, allowing for the display of more pieces from the Museum’s collection as well as loans from the Jewish Museum in New York City. Artifacts newly on view include a large Hanukkah lamp from Eastern Europe...

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UNC-TV to broadcast Charleston massacre victim's funeral live

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 12:56 PM

UNC-TV announced today that it will preempt its regularly scheduled children’s programming at 11 a.m. Friday, June 26, in order to present a live broadcast of a funeral service for one of the victims of the Charleston massacre. Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney was one of the nine people killed June 17 at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church. Suspect Dylann Roof has been arrested in what appears to be a racially motivated hate crime. UNC-TV is collaborating with South Carolina Educational Television to broadcast the funeral service, where President Obama is scheduled to speak. "This horrific event has touched...

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Devra Thomas to leave Common Ground Theatre

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2015 at 4:18 PM

A change in leadership is in the works at Durham’s Common Ground Theatre, a performance and teaching space that has nurtured and supported many Triangle theater artists. On July 1, a new executive director, Shelby Hahn, will replace Devra Thomas, who is relocating with her family to Morehead City. “Common Ground serves a really unique purpose within the Triangle theater community,” Thomas told the INDY on Friday. “It was a joy to be able to serve that community by helping people figure out how to do theater, figure out what they wanted to do and what they wanted to say.” In...

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Friday, February 27, 2015

As a power couple leaves the Triangle, two arts institutions face new questions

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 8:57 AM

PlayMakers Artistic Director Joseph Haj is leaving the Chapel Hill theater company to direct the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, starting in July (read Byron Woods for more). As Minnesota Public Radio recently reported, “Haj plans to move to the Twin Cities later this year with his wife and 14-year-old daughter.” If you know who Haj is married to, that passing mention probably piqued your interest. Joseph Haj is married to Deirdre Haj, who has been the executive director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham since 2010. As PlayMakers faces the question of new leadership, we wondered if...

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Monday, February 23, 2015

A new shop in Raleigh, a pair of new conventions and other local comics news

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 8:10 AM

A new comic shop opens in Raleigh Comic book fans in Raleigh now have a new option for getting their fanboy fix, Fight or Flight Comics, which just opened at 6675 Falls of Neuse Rd., Suite 015. Named for the classic human psychological response—as well as the action of many a superhero comic book—it was founded by former clerks from Hillsborough Street comics mainstay Foundation’s Edge. Fight or Flight’s Daniel Foust says the store was placed in this part of Raleigh so as not to compete with existing shops, such as Foundation’s Edge or Capitol Comics II. It’s actually gotten...

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Joseph Haj is leaving PlayMakers—and North Carolina

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:33 AM

Joseph Haj is leaving PlayMakers Repertory Company to become Artistic Director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, starting in July. Haj has been Producing Artistic Director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s professional theater company since 2006, presiding over Shakespeare and Sondheim as well as helping establish a more adventurous second-stage series, PRC2. "We are enormously grateful to Joe for his deep-rooted contributions to PlayMakers," McKay Coble said in a PlayMakers press release. Coble is a UNC Department of Dramatic Art faculty member and PlayMakers designer. Praising Haj’s vision and leadership, Coble said that PlayMakers is “beginning the search for new leadership as...

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Raleigh Little Theatre cancels Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Posted By on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Raleigh Little Theatre announced yesterday that it has canceled a scheduled May production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, replacing it with a run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The company reports making the decision on the basis of conversations with the region's Native American community over the fall. The musical satire based on the life of the seventh American president won awards for best musical and book during a run at the Public Theatre before transferring to Broadway in 2010/11. But the controversial work, which recasts American history as a scathing satire in the vein of South Park or...

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Gov. McCrory gets it right the second time around, names new N.C. Poet Laureate after controversy

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Call it poetic justice: After sparking controversy with his appointment of a questionably qualified state poet laureate in July, Gov. Pat McCrory announced in a press release today that the eminently qualified Shelby Stephenson will take the post. As the INDY wrote in July, Gov. McCrory’s abrupt, unilateral selection of state employee Valerie Macon as poet laureate caused an outcry in the state’s literary community—and beyond. Facing national scrutiny and criticism, Macon resigned after less than a week, leaving the post vacant until now. There were two reasons for the controversy over Macon’s appointment. For one, she lacked the legitimate publication and poetry...

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chapel Hill’s Varsity Theater starts fundraising campaign to stay in business

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 3:13 PM

As 2014 winds down, a Chapel Hill institution turns to Kickstarter in the hopes of making it through 2015. Today, the Varsity Theatre, which has operated on Franklin Street under different names for more than 85 years, unveiled a Kickstarter campaign starkly named Go Digital or Go Dark. Its goal is to raise enough money to convert the theater’s projectors and other equipment from 35mm film to digital, simply so they can keep showing movies as the new technology replaces the old, and even older films are being converted to digital and, sometimes, destroyed. One day into its 60 day run, the...

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New folk art museum working to come to Pittsboro

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Things will be stirring in the local art world this spring. As the North Carolina Museum of Art embarks on a major renovation, a mom-and-pop business in Pittsboro hopes to break ground on a new folk and outsider art museum. It’s an exciting prospect for an area whose rich artisanal tradition predates its fine-arts pedigree. The Small Museum of Folk Art is the vision of Dave Clark and Lisa Piper, who own the Small B&B Café. According to a press release, they received a gift from an unnamed donor of more than 400 pieces of folk and outsider art, including...

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You stopped the arts coverage to cover the election..... You were probably better off just covering the arts, rather than …

by Matt Price on Will to Live Cautiously Returning? Here's a Few Things to Do This Week. (Arts)

Thanks for being there. You will be missed.

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