The Gallery Theatre History
Founded 52 years ago by the Women’s Division of the Ahoskie Chamber of Commerce, The Gallery Theatre, Inc. has a rich history of advancing cultural arts.
They negotiated and signed a lease for the building and sold $25 “stocks.” After extensive clean-up and structural improvements, volunteers began producing plays, sponsoring art exhibits (many times from local artists), and hosting other cultural events. Dedicated officers and board members kept activities moving through both good and bad times.
Stock sales, private and corporate donations, the support of the Town of Ahoskie, and a variety of grants made it possible for the theatre to outright purchase the building on January 1, 1982, and restoration began. More financial help came in 1983 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Between 1987 and 1988, the lobbies were renovated, air conditioning and heating systems installed, a permanent sign erected, the stage rewired, and an electric lighting board purchased.
The significant improvements that have occurred over the years were made possible through a number of financial sources, including the annual “Friends of The Gallery” fund drive; grants received from the NC Arts Council; donations made by area residents; and grants received from Z. Smith Reynolds, Hanes, and Bryan Family Foundations (these monies paid for the annex at the back of the theatre, which is built on a lot donated in 1992 by Ruth M. Bouldin and Jessie M. Curry in memory of their grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. Jesse H. Mitchell, and their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl H. Mitchell).
Although the building has changed much, The Gallery’s purpose to promote and advance cultural interest in living theatre, art, music, and crafts has remained unchanged. Area residents should always remember the pride the organization’s founders had in their dream and the foresight, courage, and determination that went into realizing that dream.