Lake Norman-area thespians will have a new performance venue when Community School of Davidson completes construction of a 250-seat theater.
The school is expected to break ground on the performance theater Nov. 16. The theater is part of a larger expansion at the school, which will include soccer fields, a dance studio, a woodworking studio, music room, classrooms, administrative offices, a conference room and a second student commons area.
The theater, which has not been named, is expected to be available for community use in late spring. Joy Warner, executive director of the school, said in an email that the name would be a “fundraiser opportunity for naming rights.”
The theater is part of an entire arts wing the school is building, and Warner estimated the project will cost about $1.4 million.
The 1,110-student school, with students in kindergarten through 11th grade, has an extensive drama program that begins in the early grades and includes a student-produced opera in the fifth grade. In high school, students select one area of the arts to concentrate in. The school plans to add a 12th grade next year, she said.
She said the performance space will also serve the community.
“We are ecstatic to offer another performance space to the community as we would love to see more performances come to the Lake Norman area to expand cultural opportunities to our community,” she said.
Matt Merrell, executive director for the Davidson Community Players, said that the theater will be a welcome addition to the town’s existing three performance sites.
Currently, actors in the community perform either at the roughly 110-seat Armour Street Theatre, the 55-seat Warehouse Performing Arts Center or the 600-plus seat Duke Family Performance Center on Davidson College’s campus, he said.
“It’s a nice compliment to what’s already here,” said Merrell. “Having one more opportunity for young people to perform is only going to help further develop the young talent that is already here.”
Merrell also noted that the popularity of theatrical performances in town has been steadily growing in recent years, as is evidenced by the fact that Davidson Community Players has seen attendance records broken recently.
For instance, attendance at the Davidson Community Players’ summer comedy show has increased by 25.2 percent, from 2,238 to 2,802, in the last three years.
“Support for the arts has been pretty strong in the Lake Norman area,” said Merrell. “The Lake Norman community is becoming a healthier and stronger destination for the arts.”
Davidson Mayor John Woods said the theater will be a “remarkable addition” to the community.
“It’s one more asset on our list of great assets in Davidson,” said Woods. “This is only going to enhance our availability of resources for theater and the arts.”