LETTER: Rockingham not funding a full-time theater director is disappointing

To the editor:

It is with much sadness that it looks like the county will soon be losing our community theater considering last week’s 4 to 1 vote by city council not to fund a full-time director.

I have enjoyed attending plays in one of the true “jewels” in our community for 40 years. My two granddaughters attended their first live play with me last year and were just blown away by seeing a live production of “Beauty and the Beast” in the intimacy of the small theater.

Two of my friends from college who now live in Raleigh area accompanied me to see “Second Samuel” recently. They were impressed that we still have a theater. I was told there are only seven such theaters left in the state.

I attended the budget meeting last Tuesday and heard the heartfelt testimonies of people who were there to save the theater. One young man spoke so eloquently about being so inspired by his work with the theater that he had written his own play and hoped that one day it could be produced in this theater.

Another woman mentioned how thrilled her mother was when she saw her daughter in her first role on the theater’s stage as a teenager. Her mother still had vivid memories of having to go to the balcony for “colored” people when the theater was a movie theater in a segregated South.

I know that Richmond County, like other rural counties in the state, is strapped for cash but having a viable community theater is perhaps one of the few attractions this county has to give an incentive for people and companies to stay and even move to this area.

One Moore County woman spoke to the council about her involvement with the theater because there was no equivalent outlet in Moore County. Can you imagine that we have something that Moore County does not?

I realize the difficult dilemma our council members must be facing to cover expenses for the city, but perhaps funding can be found through grants and even some type of affiliation with RCC since an annex of the college will soon be built. An RCC drama department with the downtown theater would be totally awesome.

Winston Churchill was criticized for not advocating the cutting of funding for the arts during the Battle of Britain. His reply was, “But what are we fighting for?” Arts are important for our very humanity.

Helen Cox