Washington’s Turnage Theatre receives federal grant for repairs


WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s the crown jewel of downtown Washington, the Turnage Theatre. It was built in the early 1900s, but water damage from recent hurricanes is speeding up its aging.

Help is now on the way.

“What has happened is we’ve had so many hurricanes, and these two in particular that just started ripping the roof apart and ripping the top of the building apart,” said Debra Torrence, executive director of Arts of the Pamlico.

“The masonry started to fail, the windows started to fail and you know everything starts to fail after 100 years.”

The state is using money from the National Park Service to preserve historic landmarks. The theatre’s share is $750,000, which will go towards repairs to the building, stage, balcony, walls and windows.

“The roof was the first big step. This is the next step that has to happen,” Torrence said.

Torrence said the historical landmark has great value because it’s a huge economic driver for Washington.

“We generate and give back to the community through everything we do, close to half-a-million dollars a year,” she said.

For Torrence, the next step after these repairs is interior restoration to preserve the theatre for future generations.

“I am thrilled because what it does is it leverages thousands and thousands of people’s time and investments in this building and will save it for generations to come,” she said.

Repairs will start in July and should take a year to complete.

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