Company continues to breathe life into old theatre

By Deborah Dishner
H&T Staff Writer
Story published: 11-15-2005 - Herald & Tribune

With the help of volunteers and the Town of Jonesborough, the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is renovating the old theater building with the hopes of providing the community more than just plays.

“We’re ready to tell the story of the town through the town,” said Artistic Director Kathleen Buttolph. “And we’re taking a few walls down in the process.”

Within the past several months, the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre has undergone some drastic changes including a new front entrance, new dressing rooms, new bathrooms and a new mosaic art piece to welcome theater lovers.

“There’s been a lot of changes,” said Buttolph. “But, we still have a long way to go.”

The Theatre has provided a haven for timeless plays and performances in the Jonesborough community for nearly 35 years, but in recent years, the building has not been utilized to the extent the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre would wish to see it.

“It has mostly been non-functional in the past few years,” said Buttolph. “Now, we’re cleaning up house to return the Theatre back to the community.”

In the past, the Theatre’s primary players and audiences were adults, but with all the changes that have taken place, the Town of Jonesborough is hoping to reach out to children and students as well.

Jonesborough Repertory Theatre actress Janette Gaines thinks the change is a step in the right direction.

“It’s nice to see students involved,” said Gaines. “It’s a great opportunity to promote theater to kids and give them a great after-school activity.”

The Town of Jonesborough planned the restoration process of the Theatre not only to restore the building itself, but also to restore the story of the community.

“It’s all about what the people put into it,” said Buttolph. “We want the community to know the Theatre is for everyone, and it’s the people that will keep it going.”

The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre plans to keep going through this holiday season  with a 1940s USO Christmas Show. Performances will be Dec. 9-11 with varying times per day.

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