Applause was heard at the Smoky Mountain Community Theatre’s membership meeting on Monday, Feb. 13 as the 2023 Board of Directors announced that the roof construction/replacement was fully complete. The construction included repairing a large caving hole that developed in mid 2020 when the organization was closed due to the pandemic.
The Smoky Mountain Community Theatre and their dedicated members have worked diligently for the past two years to complete this goal. Through fundraising, grants, and donations, the small but determined group persevered and raised over $100,000 to complete step one of the building’s renovation. “We are ecstatic, but there is still a great deal of work to do,” said Aaron Swenson, SMCT Board of Directors Treasurer.
What is that other work? Due to the leaky roof, several other issues have developed in the building. Dehumidifiers have been keeping the moisture at bay; however, the dry wall in the building has suffered and will need to be replaced. The caving hole was positioned above the HVAC system which caused the supports to loosen, which, in turn, damaged the system. And the aged electrical system needs to be rewired to safely handle the needs of a modern event venue. “We not only want to repair the existing damages, we also want to reopen better than we were before. With that in mind, we are thoughtfully developing a plan of action with the aid of Tim Hall who’s sourced a local general contractor and an architect that will guide us through the renovation process,” said Ricky Sanford, SMCT Board of Directors President.
Both long-term and new members and patrons of the organization agree with the 2023 Board in addressing not only the “brick and mortar” work, but also the issues that interfere with a satisfactory patron experience. The stage is long overdue for an upgrade that would allow the SMCT to host concerts, dance performances, and other events in addition to its usual schedule of live theatre productions. The current stage lighting system is over ten years old, with some pieces dating more than twenty years old. New, more comfortable seating is needed. The theatre curtains have mildewed and need to be replaced. The restrooms need to be updated with an eye to meeting ADA compliance, and the concessions booth remodel is a project dating back to the 2020 Board that still remains on the to-do list.
The 2023 Board of Directors, Committees, and members realize this is a big project and are committed to working hard to continue to raise funds, provide events in the community, and seek grants, but SMCT needs your help as well. “We’re looking for members to give their time and energy to this incredibly worthy project, but we also need donations and sponsorships,” said Sanford. “The Smoky Mountain Community Theatre has been a cornerstone of our community since 1980 and, with your help, we can bring it back as an event venue that we can all be proud of”.
The membership meets on the second Monday each month at 6:30pm at the Swain County Business and Training Center. Membership dues are $25 for the year. To learn more about the organization or to donate go to our website, www.smctheatre.com and don’t forget to check out our branded apparel at www.linktr.ee/smctheatre.