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Beckley gathering brainstorms to resurrect Theatre West Virginia

By Wendy Holdren


BECKLEY, W.Va. — “I’m thankful to see I’m not by myself on this,” Scott Hill said to a crowd of approximately 50 people who met Thursday evening at Tamarack to discuss Theatre West Virginia Act II.

“We’re paddling against a major current, but it’s nice to see there are several people holding oars.”

The major focus of the meeting was the importance of fundraising and volunteering.

“In order for it to continue, the community has to be ready to step up and support it.”

Hill said United Bank has already stepped up to help find an office space for the theater and the University of Charleston-Beckley has already offered space for the actors training academy.

Local attorney Steven New plans to donate some of his television commercial time slots through Suddenlink to TWV.

New also suggested the theater set up a donation campaign through texting, which he said he believes would generate a lot of funds.

Former TWV general manager Gayle Bowling agreed, as she said there are theater alumni all over the country.

Neal and Helen Lacey, who worked as house manager and concessions manager, respectively, attended the meeting and they said they were very encouraged by the discussion.

“We worked there for 25 years,” Neal said. “Every summer since 1989.”

He said they were shocked and upset when the theater announced its closure last September, but ever since that announcement they had hoped someone would step in and revive it.

“The theater had a near death experience a couple years ago. This time we saw a death of the theater and now a resurrection…”

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