Founded in 1966 by 12 Hendersonville natives, Hendersonville Little Theatre began as a local collective of like-minded theatrical artists who wanted the opportunity to develop new work and perform projects they were passionate about.

In 2011, the board decided to move to the downtown area and shortly after that renamed the theater Hendersonville Community Theatre. The move was to better serve the community as a whole, not just their members.

In the years since moving to South Washington Street, HCT has had great success with traditional plays and musicals. The theater began to evolve into a place of opportunity for all. With the addition of youth productions in 2017, HCT gave area children a safe and creative way to spend a summer. These youth productions brought in many new enthusiastic families as patrons, volunteers and more donors. HCT averaged 30 new patrons per production from 2018-2019.

“Just as we were building momentum, we were shut down by the pandemic of 2020,” said Board President and Acting Executive Director Janice Guazzo. “Being shuttered for over a year has given us time to re-evaluate the sustainability of the only community theater in Henderson County. It has allowed us to strategically prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. Living day to day waiting for announcements of restrictions being lifted, while also worrying about how to keep actors and patrons safe has been a little stressful, but we are excited to have them back.”

HCT’s current board is dedicated to carrying on the Hendersonville Little Theatre legacy, as well as creating new programs and community outreach projects.

“We have an opportunity to grow and become a significant provider of the arts and education to community partners, such as Henderson County Public Schools, the Boys and Girls Club, and many of our senior living communities. The reorganization of the theater is driven by a vision of the future, as well as by the economic realities of the present. We are creating specialized roles and a professionalized structure as well as adopting a new donor program and beginning a capital fundraising campaign that will help to support HCT’s growth for years to come,” Guazzo said.

To further ensure relevancy and to stay engaged in the community the rest of the season, Sabrina Rockwell, HCT secretary outlined a list of upcoming events.

“We are planning some fun community events such as open mic nights, classic movie showings, comedy nights, game nights and a special new Readers’ Theatre for our 55-plus community. These will be open to the general public on a pay-what-you-can model. We hope our local actors and musicians will bring their works to share with folks that want to support the arts. We are also partnering with another non-profit in Raleigh to help N.C. playwrights get their scripts read and workshopped with the end goal being on our stage in full production. Some other things to come are low-cost programs that will include: improv workshops, acting workshops for adults and youth.”

The remainder of the season includes: “Everything Is Rosie” with Wendy Jones and her Jazz trio, July 17-18; Ross Osteen Band, Aug. 7; “Nunsense — Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Jamboree,” Sept. 1-12; and “A Tuna Christmas,” Dec. 3-12.

For more information on upcoming events, donating or volunteer opportunities, visit www.hendersonvilletheatre.org, or call 828-692-1082.

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