Tuesday, 09 May 2023
Written by Sheila D. Barker
The Gilbert Theater has been a cultural fixture of Fayetteville since its humble beginnings. In 1994 Lynn Pryer founded the Gilbert Theater in the basement of his home. Eventually, it settled into its current location on the second floor of Fascinate-U Children’s Museum on Green Street, in the heart of historic downtown Fayetteville where it continues to captivate audiences.
After three decades of producing numerous plays and musicals, the theater is proud to announce its 30th Season.
When asked what he attributed Gilbert’s staying power to, Lawrence Carlisle III, Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater, commented with “Tenacity. Creative honesty. Love. These are a couple of the reasons for the Gilbert’s staying power. I took over three months before the pandemic started and decided then that this would not be the thing that brought down the theater. That tenacity in the face of so much uncertainty is a testament to the Gilbert’s strength as an arts entity in this town.”
The Gilbert Theater’s 30th season is set to be an exciting one, with four productions from the past being revisited and one brand new play being performed on the Gilbert stage for the first time.
The four classic productions will include “The Rocky Horror Show,” “A Christmas Carol,” “In the Blood” and “Assassins.”
Alongside these classics, the theater will be showcasing a brand new work, “Ivories,” from up-and-coming playwright Riley Elton McCarthy.
Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer, the 30th season of the Gilbert Theater is sure to be one to remember!
“For the 30th I wanted to reproduce four shows from our past, and I didn’t really have any specific criteria beyond that,” said Carlisle. “I tried to pick things with wide appeal, and name recognition. I wanted to choose pieces that, hopefully, the audience would remember the Gilbert’s previous production of and that they would be excited to come back and experience it again.”
Here is the 2023-2024 30th Season line-up:
“The Rocky Horror Show” (Oct. 6 to 22) is a cult classic for sure and the perfect show for the October slot. “The Rocky Horror Show” is a must-see! This musical pays homage to classic sci-fi and horror B movies and takes the audiences on a journey with newly-engaged couple Janet and Brad, seeking shelter from the rain. What they find is a world of madness and chaos led by the eccentric Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Don’t miss the chance to dress up and “participate” in this cultural phenomenon.
“A Christmas Carol” (November 24 to Dec. 17), an adaptation from Charles Dickens’ most beloved story, “The Christmas Carol,” is a holiday favorite. Ebenezer Scrooge, with the help of three spirits, is compelled to acknowledge his mistakes and reevaluate his outlook on life. By Christmas morning, Scrooge is filled with gratitude and ready to spend the day with those he holds dear. Let this uplifting classic help you celebrate the joy of family around the holidays.
“In the Blood” (Feb. 2 to 18, 2024) is inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, “The Scarlet Letter.” “In the Blood” is a modern-day narrative of a woman seeking to improve her children’s lives while being condemned by her peers. Drawing on many of the same motifs as Hawthorne’s book, such as sexuality, social guilt, and a female’s endeavor to outrun her past, “In the Blood” additionally deals with motherhood, race and poverty. Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, the production of “In the Blood” will most likely trigger many powerful dialogues well after the curtain falls.
“Assassins” (March 8 to 24, 2024) is a Tony-winning musical written by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. It will captivate its audience with its exploration of the lives of nine individuals who attempted to, or succeeded in, assassinating one of the Presidents of the United States. Captivating and haunting, “Assassins” is considered the most controversial musical to ever exist. Expect to be shocked and enthralled in equal measure with original, daring and humorous content.
“Ivories” (April 26 to May 12, 2024) follows Sloane, a playwright, who has gone back to her hometown with her spouse to look after her grandma, who appears to be inflicted with dementia. The longer she stays, and with each passing day, more of her childhood trauma and mysteries begin to surface. Is there something far more diabolical lurking underneath?
So, looking ahead to the next 30 years, what can we expect to come? Carlisle and the staff at the Gilbert Theater hope to see the theater become an outlet for those looking to express their creativity and take risks.
“I hope the Gilbert will continue to be a safe space for the more off-beat shows,” said Carlisle. “I hope the Gilbert remains a relaxed atmosphere, conducive to collaborations. And lastly, I hope the Gilbert inspires people to go after their dreams, fight the good fight, and realize that their creative expression matters.”
We all look forward to more quality productions from the Gilbert Theater for the next 30 years. We celebrate the theater’s dedication to keeping theater in downtown Fayetteville alive and thriving.
The Gilbert Theater is located at 116 Green Street in Fayetteville.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.gilberttheater.com.
All photos by Jonathan Hornby.
Tuesday, 09 May 2023
Written by Ashley Shirley
Three years ago, the world came to an unexpected halt with the onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent efforts to stop its spread.
Three years later, the world has come back to life — but at a cost — or so it seems to Pastor Robert James of First Baptist Church and other worship leaders in the Fayetteville community.
“We haven’t really come back,” James explained. “The world is not the same. There’s still a dark cloud — a need to come together and call God for help. We need to be revived.”
With a revival in mind, Pastor James and leaders from Hay Street United Methodist, One Church Covenant Fellowship, First Presbyterian Church, and Luke AME have come together to create the first-ever “Revive All” in Fayetteville. From Sunday, May 14 through Sunday, May 21, First Baptist Church will host a city-wide revival to restore the community’s heart, mind and spirit.
“This is the church’s response to the reality we find ourselves in post-COVID,” James said. “If anyone has a background in hope, resurrection and renewal — it’s Christians. Our entire faith is based on belief in bringing back what has died.”
The event’s name, “Revive All,” is less a clever play on words and more a comment on the scope and objective of the project. While worship, prayer and the ubiquitous revival tent will be present — if a revival has “rules,” then the “Revive All” seeks to break them.
While an annual revival is a typical event in the Christian faith, what Pastor James and his co-sponsors are attempting to do is unique. Five ministers of different churches and denominations will spend each night of the “Revive All” focused on a specific spiritual element in need of revitalization.
“We’ve been forced to retreat into ourselves for so long, people have missed a sense of community … they don't realize how much they need each other,” said James.
“Every night of the ‘Revive All,’ we’re asking God to revive just one thing.”
Starting Sunday, May 14, the “Revive All” will each day revolve around themes such as joy, family, grief, and commitment to bring unbroken focus to the elements of spirituality and worship that really matter. The inclusion of different denominations is an attempt to erase ideological division, which can so often keep people from coming together in faith.
The “Revive All’s” aim is to remind the people of Fayetteville that irrespective of faith-based traditions, “we still need each other. We all need a community of people to care for,” said James.
“At the end of the day, we’re united in our faith,” James continued. “All of our reasons and traditions may differ — but we are the same at the core and root. The needs in our community are larger than one church or denomination.”
Due to the influx of cultures, religions, and beliefs into the area, Fayetteville has been a receptive site for this groundbreaking initiative.
“It seems to be seeped into the ground here,” James said. “It [The Revive All] has not been a hard sell. We’ve gotten amazing contributions … people believe in what we’re trying to do.”
Ultimately, the “Revive All” is a community-wide celebration of things both lost and remembered, a rallying cry for the faithful to take up arms against the chaos and uncertainty of the past few years.
Each night’s thematic focus is the church’s holistic attempt to heal what’s broken by reviving each part of the spiritual body to save the whole.
Schedule of Themes
- Sunday, May 14: Revival of Joy in Worship at 6 p.m.
- Monday, May 15: Revival of Faith and Family at 5:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 16: Revival of Community and Church at 6 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 17: Revival of Grief and Hope at 6 p.m.
- Thursday, May 18: Revival of Christian Unity at 6 p.m.
- Friday, May 19: Revival of Repentance and Commitment at 6 p.m.
- Saturday, May 20: Revival of Missions and Service at 8 a.m.
- Sunday, May 21: Living Revived Lives at 11 a.m.
Each theme has a related activity to bring the community together in worship. A family-oriented service will include hot dogs, snow cones, games, and a bounce house on Monday.
Tuesday, “Revive All” worshippers will hear testimony and a message from guest speaker Bishop John Godbolt, co-pastor of One Church Covenant Fellowship, on the importance of community.
Wednesday, a special memorial service led by Rev. Marvin T. Clowney, chaplain for Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, will be held. Thursday, five worship leaders from different churches and denominations will preach jointly on the question, “Why, Jesus?” Friday, a community-wide Communion service. Saturday, worshippers will go out into the community to spread love through acts of kindness and service.
Sunday, congregants will return to their traditional houses of worship, and all participating pastors will preach the same sermon: “How to Live a Life Revived.”
“This is a chance to not just go to church but be the church,” James said. “I’m consistently scared and excited. God trusts us a lot to put something like this together. I don’t know what will happen — I just know what I hope.”
First Baptist Church is located at 201 Anderson Street in downtown Fayetteville. Except for May 17, when the service will be conducted in the sanctuary of First Baptist, all services will be held in a tent at the rear of the First Baptist building at the corner of Anderson Street and Maiden Lane.
The “Revive All” is intended to be the combined efforts of churches across Fayetteville and surrounding areas. If any pastor or church member would like to join the effort, contact Rev. James at 910-728-6880.