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Local youth theater raising funds to improve Pittsboro Community House

Posted Saturday, December 13, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - Among all the fancy galas and high-priced fundraisers throughout the Triangle two entrepreneurs, a handful of Pittsboro children with their parents, and patrons of the arts are preserving the history and improving the future of their wonderful hamlet.

The Pittsboro Youth Theater is leading a fundraiser to improve the old Pittsboro Community House to make it the only space that's suitable and affordable for small-scale community theater in town.

The Pittsboro Community House is the historic, solid stone structure that sits three doors down Thompson Street from 15/501.

So many of the Pittsboro natives I tell about our project smile and tell stories about going to the Community House when they were kids, says Craig Witter who founded and runs the Pittsboro Youth Theater with his partner Tammy Matthews.

Local kids have four theater rehearsals there every week.

We love it!, say's Matthews. But it's hard to hear inside when the kids voices echo against the stone walls.

Visiting a rehearsal one sees heavy black cloth temporarily hung along the walls and windows to absorb sound.

Colorful shirts also hang around the Community House and at several retailers in Pittsboro. Tee shirts, sweat shirts and hoodies emblazoned with a picture of the Community House, the text ...I support Pittsboro Community Theater... and the Pittsboro Youth Theater logo are being sold to raise funds to make much needed improvements and buy equipment for the theater.

Shirts are in stock and on sale at the following Pittsboro retailers: The Chatham Marketplace (co-op) in the old mill off 15/501 north of downtown, Country Farm and Home on Small Street, and at Second Bloom downtown.

These are the best quality shirts available, says Witter, ...woven, sewn and printed in North Carolina. $12 from every children's hoodie sold will be spent on Community House improvements and $5.50 on equipment for the youth theater. Details of funds distribution vary by size and type of shirt, but according to Witter, ...a very high percentage of proceeds from every shirt sale will go toward enriching Pittsboro heritage, Pittsboro kids and Pittsboro's vibrant arts culture.

Although the youth theater rehearses in the Pittsboro Community House, old wiring in the structure led them to look for other places to perform their plays.

Stage lights aren't an option here now, say's Matthews standing in the Community House's great room with its tall pane-glass windows and doors, hardwood floors and massive stone fireplace and walls. We searched and searched for someplace to have our performances in town. Pittsboro just doesn't have anywhere that is suitable and affordable for community theater, she said.

The Pittsboro Youth Theater packed the largest restaurant in town for their performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in June. That stage is great for bands but just isn't laid out for theater, says Matthews who has a Master's degree in Theatrical Direction. Venues for live theater typically have wings around and at the same level as the stage ...and great acoustics.

Some of the children in the casts of Pittsboro Youth Theater plays are very small and just learning how to project their voices. The Jr. ensemble is for local children in grades 2 through 5. They are currently practicing four Aesops Fables for the next performance in December. Children in grades 5 and up make up the theater's ensemble. They have separate rehearsals for their play, Wiley and The Hairy Man.

Both groups will perform in two showings of Fables and Folk Tales at 2pm and 7pm at the Pittsboro Kiwanis Club building at 309 Credle St. in Pittsboro on Sunday, December 14th.

Seating is limited and tickets may not be available at the door if they all sell ahead of time. Visit for more information, to buy performance tickets or make a donation.

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Local youth theater raising funds to improve Pittsboro Community House