HART celebrates 30 years in Haywood

Fundraising continues for Stage II
By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Jun 25, 2014
Photo by: John Highsmith Board members Mieko Thomson and Bonnie Smith show how theater supporters can win a Broadway trip to New York City.

Supporters put their HART hats on June 12 to help celebrate 30 years of great community theater.

Theater lovers celebrated by wearing baseball caps donning HART’s new logo, sampling food and getting a sneak peak of numbers from upcoming productions of “A Grand Night for Singing” and “Hello! Dolly.”

The anniversary party also served as a fundraiser as HART is still raising money to construct a second stage, which will allow the theater to offer more shows year round.

Steven Lloyd, HART’s executive director, said more than $700,000 already has been raised and construction can begin very soon. Construction costs are estimated to be about $950,000 plus an additional $200,000 for furnishings and everything else needed in the new theater.

Lloyd said the loan closure at the bank was taking longer than expected because of a land issue being worked out. Since HART is located on The Shelton House’s property with a 40-year land lease, the museum has to put the land into a trust.

“The bank said they require the museum to put the land into a trust as security against the loan so as soon as that happens you will see something happen out there,” Lloyd said.

The new theater will include a bistro/café, and a 150-seat flexible theater space, which can be reconfigured in many ways including dinner theater and cabaret. Christy Bishop, who will be the manager of the bistro, Harmon’s Den, gave people a little taste of the food that will be offered at the bistro — pesto chicken salad on a crostini with tomato relish.

The bistro will be open on show nights, and if it can stand on its own, Lloyd said it would be open during the week for breakfast and lunch. There will be indoor and outdoor seating for about 40 people. The bistro will be very beneficial for the actors, who rarely eat before shows, to relax and enjoy a late dinner with other cast members.

Libby Feichter, a major supporter of HART, thanks Lloyd for his 20 years of dedication to the community theater. She helped found the theater 30 years ago and was active in finding a perfect executive director.

“I remember asking Steve why he wanted to be here in the theater, and he said ‘because I can make a difference’ and I never forgot those words because he truly has made a difference,” she said.

There are a number of ways to support HART through different level memberships. For more information, visit www.harttheater.org.