USDA grant is helping “raise the roof” at Turnage Theatre


WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The historic Turnage Theatre in Washington helps the community celebrate art and culture.

Now Arts of the Pamlico is being awarded a grant to fix its failing roof.

“Altogether this community facility supports over 60 local businesses a year,” says executive director Debra Torrence. 

The Turnage theatre helps get money flowing into this waterfront community but a few years ago, operators spotted a different kind of flow.

Workers at the Turnage needed money to save the roof.

“We’ve started fundraising in 2017 and really starting to get the word out and say okay this is going to be a big project this is a big building, this is a big economic engine here in Washington and the region,” says Torrence. 

Then came a gift from an agency people associate with farms, the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA grant comes from a program supporting community facilities in rural areas. 

Now Arts of the Pamlico has a plan to repair the building, which dates back to the early 1900s.

The USDA grant will help preserve a landmark with a lot of meaning in the east.

“It’s so important especially in rural areas where there aren’t those opportunities or you have to travel so far to be able to see live theatre or to do those things” explains Erin Staebell, the theatre program and outreach coordinator.

Operators plan to keep the theatre open throughout the repair and preservation process. 

The staff tells 9OYS that they still need donations for this project.

If you would like to help contribute to the preservation of this historic site you can donate here. 


February 29 and March 1st: The Dinner Party by Neil Simon 

Performed by the community theatre group and directed by Natalie Stewart of ECU and Shawn Jeffries

March St. Patts Party @ 6:00 PM March 13.

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