Built in 1881, The Newberry Opera House has been a point of pride in the Midlands for over a century. It was awarded first place as the Outstanding Theatre for 2008 at the national conference by the League of Historic American Theatres last July. Presenting over 200 performances a year, The Newberry Opera House features shows for all tastes. With the economy struggling, ticket sales dipped last year affecting their ability to operate. Fortunately, this week, the NOH has become the recipient of funding from the National Endowment of the Arts in the amount of $50,000. Deborah Smith of the Opera House is very excited.
“What it is…it is to support jobs,” she said. “We did receive $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts which was part of the Recovery-Stimulus funds which was voted on by the (U.S.) legislature–what? four months ago now–and we are ecstatic about it. It’s really going to make a difference [sic].”
The $50,000 is part of the $50 million The Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allocated to the National Endowment of the Arts.
Smith says the NOH is very appreciative to have been chosen for this funding.”This really makes a huge difference,” said Smith. “We are exteremely greatful.
“We are also pleased that it was highly competitive. I think that Spoletto and the South Carolina Public Broadcasting both received funds. I’m not sure who else (did) but it was a very limited number and so we are very pleased to be in that company.”
She says there are many great shows lined up for this year. “We open the season in September with Steve Terrell and then folks like: Kris Kristofferson, The Little River Band, The Oakridge Boys, Ray Price, Shirley Jones, Camelot. We have some major productions coming so it’s critical that we continue to have a strong staff.”
Also booked are Arlo Guthrie and Aaron Neville.
There is also two operas scheduled for the early part of next year. “Don Giovanni is March 16 and the Fledermaus is January 22.”