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  • Writer's pictureCarteret Theater

The Carteret Community Theater History a time to Rebuild

Historical Milestones

· Established in 1948

o Live Theatre performed in local churches, schools, tents, Joslyn Hall (Carteret Community College)

o Building History (1311 Arendell St.)

§ Originally built 1966 as a movie theatre

· 1990 CCT was granted status as a 501(C)3 nonprofit

· 2003 Building was purchased by Ed Grafton - showcased the talents of his granddaughter Courtney Grafton, a rising local theatrical star.

o As the Crystal Coast Jamboree, many variety shows and local country-western acts were booked in the theatre.

o As the programming expanded and included different genres, the theatre was renamed The Morehead Center for the Performing Arts

· June 2014 CCT purchased Crystal Coast Jamboree with owner-financing

o 2014-2018: Successfully provided live local theatre as well as outside musical and comedy acts

o Summer camps began in 2014

• 2018

September 2018: Hurricane Florence decimated building

• Roof peeled off and ruined entire interior

• Hired Coastal Architecture (Lee Dixon) and Simpson Construction to rebuild theatre, including improvements

• Reconstruction efforts included demolition, new roof, and air condition units

• Reconstruction stalled due cost overruns; additional funds needed to complete

theatre as desired

December 2018: Theatrical productions resumed at various offsite venues.

· 2019 Fundraising Gala began

· 2020 Pandemic 

· 2021 Hired Debra Torrence as grant writer, Former Exec Director of Arts of the Pamlico, responsible for renovation of historic Turnage Theatre in Washington, NC.

• 2022 

o CCT created the First Act Youth Theatre Program. This program is entirely youth

run, and available at no cost to Carteret County children ages 5-17.

o Employed full time manager

o Office space rented at local Morehead City coworking space

o Building rehab - Currently working with architect

o Various other grants including Carteret County Arts Council and Carteret Community Foundation, among others, for programming

Current Status of Theatre

· Building has been paid off

· Current board of directors (September 2023)

· Continued successful summer drama camps starting June 2020 (despite Covid challenges) with thousands of local youth participating.

· Adult and children theatre performances continue in local venues including Joslyn Hall, local churches, and businesses

· Six full productions plus First Act Youth Theatre and summer camps.

Rehab of Building

· Hired Arthur Alley Consulting to perform readiness campaign to gauge community interest QTR 1 2022 (same group that did capital campaign for Salvation Army)

· Readiness study was positive

· Began Ovation Capital Campaign December 2022 with Arthur Alley Consulting

· Created Fundraising Cabinet to raise funds

· Silent Phase December 2022 - October 2023

· Hosted multiple Peek Behind the Curtain Events to share new building design and vision for future of CCT

o Attendees included theatre patrons and prospective donors

o Follow up meetings to solicit donations and pledges

· Public Phase October 2023

· Kickoff event pending with community and county leaders 

· Fundraising to public including personal visits, social media, and special events

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