An angel gives Tryon Little Theater its wings

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The year was 1948. Three years earlier, a war weary country began to rebuild a path toward hope. Harry Truman was president and NATO was just forming. It would be a few more years until television replaced the radio as a living room fixture. “Mister Roberts” and Henry Fonda won the Tony Award for best play and actor respectively, the Cleveland Indians won their last world series and “Citation,” ridden by Eddie Arcaro, captured the Triple Crown.

It was also the year that an intrepid and enthusiastic troupe of actors, writers and directors came together in a tiny mountain town in Polk County, N.C. to form the Tryon Little Theater.

Current president of TLT, Susie Kocher, remarks: “Sixty-eight years ago, this little theater was born and we have continued to survive one miracle at a time ever since.” One of those miracles occurred last year, when a long-time TLT supporter bequeathed a generous gift, enabling the group to take initial steps toward realizing their dream of having their very own theater space.

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The magic TLT has created season after season in a former Napa Auto Parts store continues to be an extraordinary gift to our performing arts community. They produce four plays a year including a musical and a large-scale children’s production in a joint effort with the Tryon Fine Arts Center every summer, which has been a life changing experience for many of our local youth.

Now, this not for profit theater, with its crew of loyal members, volunteers and patrons, is looking forward to the exciting process of building a new theater from the ground up, on the corner of Trade Street and Hwy.176 at what TLT vice-president, Chris Tinkler, referred to as “The Gateway to Tryon,” the strategic location of the theater’s future home.

During this developmental phase of their capital campaign, TLT board members and supporters recently attended a workshop facilitated by Judy Bright and Tom McGuire, seasoned veterans of nonprofit fundraisers, who have led many successful major campaigns in the Raleigh area.

TLT is also very grateful for the advice offered by Terry Ackerman, who has volunteered his services as financial consultant. A local architect has been hired to come up with what is sure to be a stunning and tasteful design.

Fundraising will begin in earnest this spring, with multiple events planned for Tryon and the surrounding area. The supporters of this locally vital theater company hope to include its many fans in this celebratory endeavor, which truly belongs to our entire community. 

– article submitted by Catherine Gillet