The History of Flat Rock Playhouse

In 1937, a group of struggling performers, led by Robroy Farquhar, organized themselves as the Vagabond Players. The Vagabonds worked in a variety of places over the course of three years, and in 1940 found themselves in the Blue Ridge region of Western North Carolina. The local and tourist community welcomed them with open arms when they presented their first summer season of plays in a 150-year-old grist mill they converted into The Old Mill Playhouse at Highland Lake.

So successful was that summer, they returned in 1941. After WWII, the Vagabond Players reorganized, came back to the region and opened a playhouse in nearby Lake Summit. The Lake Summit Playhouse thrived during the post-war years and soon the Vagabond Players were looking for a larger and permanent home. In 1952, the troupe of performers, and a newly formed board of directors, made an offer to buy an 8-acre lot in the Village of Flat Rock. This new home made the Vagabonds “locals” and a rented big top gave birth to the Flat Rock Playhouse.

As the beautiful Western Carolina region continued to grow, so did the Playhouse and in 1961, by Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theatre of North Carolina. What began as a few weeks of summer performances in 1940 is now a nine-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy, drama, and theatre for young audiences.

The Playhouse’s dual mission of producing the performing arts and providing education in the performing arts includes a professional series, a summer and fall college apprentice and intern program, year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through adults. Flat Rock Playhouse now hosts over 100,000 patrons annually and is a significant contributor to the local economy and the Arts in North Carolina.

Frequently Asked Questions

With deep regret, Flat Rock Playhouse must postpone the balance of our 2020 season to 2021. These FAQs provide more information.

Why is the Playhouse canceling the rest of the season?

It is simply no longer feasible to reopen in mid-July as we had originally hoped. First, we don’t know when government-mandated limitations on large gatherings will be lifted, and under what conditions – and theatres are all about large-group gatherings! Further, we’ve just learned that union guidelines for when actors can return to work won’t even be issued until this summer, well after the cast and crew would need to be on the Rock for rehearsals. With no clear path to opening this summer, the right decision for the long-term health of the Playhouse is to shift the entire 2020 Mainstage season to 2021. 

Will there be any performances this year?

We hope so, but it’s too soon to tell. Our priority will be the safety and well-being of our patrons, volunteers, staff and artists. Should things evolve so that it is safe and practical to put on a show, we’ll be ready. 

What should people do about their tickets?

The Box Office team will contact all ticket holders personally starting in mid-May. Some people have already donated back their 2020 tickets, which is a huge help and we hope everyone will consider it. In fact, 100% of our Board has done this. It’s simple to do. When called by the Box Office, people can say they want to donate their tickets and will receive an acknowledgement of their tax-deductible contribution. For more information regarding this, please click HERE.

When will the Box Office reopen?

Effective May 26, Our Box Office is open Monday – Thursday from 10 AM – 5 PM. For more information please email us at CovidCommunications@flatrockplayhouse.org. 

How will the Playhouse weather being closed?

Fortunately, we entered 2020 with the strongest financial position in over a decade. Nonetheless, we’re facing a big challenge. As we focus on reducing expenses and conserving cash, we have had to make the difficult decision to significantly reduce our cherished, dedicated staff. This really hurts. We are doing our best to help our staff with this transition.

Now more than ever, we’ll be relying on support from our patrons and sponsors. Since 80% of our revenue comes from ticket sales, and we will have no shows for the rest of the year, we will be entirely dependent on the generosity of donors and sponsors. Click HERE to make a donation or visit our website, flatrockplayhouse.org, to make a donation. We also invite people to donate back tickets as our Board and many others already have. Every single penny will help us make it through the tough times ahead.

Who can I call at the Playhouse?

How can I find out what’s happening at the Playhouse?

We’re sending out the “Rock Out Newsletter” every Friday that includes updates on all things FRP. We’ll also stay active on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) and on the FRP website (flatrockplayhouse.org). 

How are other theatres handling this situation?

Literally hundreds of performance organizations, from Brevard Music Center to the Peace Center locally, and regional professional theatres around the country, are announcing performance cancelations and postponing their seasons to 2021. Sadly, we are not alone by any means.

Where is Flat Rock Playhouse?

  • Our 500 seat Mainstage is located at 2661 Greenville Highway in Flat Rock, NC.  Flat Rock Playhouse is located about half an hour south of Asheville, 30 minutes north of Greenville.

What are your Box Office Hours?

  • During the season, our Box Office is open Monday – Saturday from 10 AM – 5 PM. On performance days, the Box Office will open 2 hours before curtain. Effective May 26, Our Box Office is open Monday – Thursday from 10 AM – 5 PM. For more information please email us at CovidCommunications@flatrockplayhouse.org. 

Are all of your shows family friendly?

  • We bring a wide variety of exciting and magical productions to the stage for you here at the Playhouse. The themes and age appropriateness of each one varies by production. For specific information regarding the content of a given production, please call our Box Office at 828-693-0731.

 Are discounts available?

  • Yes! We offer discounts for groups, students and children. For more information about these or other special packages we offer, please contact the Box office at 828-693-0731.

Can my tickets be refunded?

  • No, all sales are final. If you cannot attend a performance and wish to donate your tickets back to the theatre, please call the box office at 828-693-0731 in advance of your performance date. You don't even have to bring the tickets to us! We will happily accept the tickets for resale, and give you a tax receipt and our heartfelt thanks for your donation.

Does Flat Rock Playhouse offer any hearing aid options?

  • We certainly do!  We are proud to be able to offer a state of the art system where people with hearing loss can enjoy their theatre experience as clearly as anyone else. Our Hearing Loop system provides wireless hearing aids, delivering clear, customized sound from inside your ears. We offer this service free of charge for our patrons. For more information CLICK HERE.

Are there dining facilities at Flat Rock Playhouse?

  • Yes, there are! Located in the Otto Courtyard we have a full concession shop which serves snacks, refreshments and alcoholic beverages. For full sit down meals, check out the excellent options in downtown Flat Rock, just a few minutes’ walk from the theatre!

Is there parking at Flat Rock Playhouse?

  • We have lots of parking right at the theatre that we offer to our patrons for free! Upon entering the theatre grounds for a show, you will be greeted and directed by our dedicated team of parking staff. Handicapped and VIP parking is available for patrons with appropriate passes. All parking areas are first come, first serve, so we recommend arriving early to secure a prime spot.

What is the dress code for Flat Rock Playhouse?

  • We welcome a range of attire choices. Dress is generally casual but feel free to dress up fancy if you feel inclined! You certainly won’t be the only one. We recommend bringing a sweater or a jacket as we keep the theater cool for the comfort of all present.

Can I purchase tickets online?

  • Yes, individual tickets can be purchased for all of our shows HERE.  For large group tickets, season subscriptions, flex packages or special events, please contact our Box Office at 828-693-0731.

Where can I locate a seating chart?

  • Our mainstage theatre seating chart is provided for you HERE for easy reference.

How will I get the tickets I purchased?

  • After purchasing your tickets, they will be reserved for you under your last name at the Box Office. You are able to pick them up from any time prior to the show during regular Box Office hours. If you’d like us to mail your tickets to you, we are happy to do so for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of purchase and we will arrange the delivery.

How might one apply for job at Flat Rock Playhouse?

  • Actors: Flat Rock Playhouse operates under an Actors’ Equity Association C.O.R.S.T. – Z contract. Annual auditions are held in New York, the South Eastern Theatre Conference, and the Western Carolina Theatre League Unified auditions. Submit headshot and resume Casting@Flatrockplayhouse.org.
  • Local Actors: Will be seen in Flat Rock typically in January or February. Contact Casting@Flatrockplayhouse.org for more information and stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for details and opportunities.
  • Directors/Choreographers:  Artistic positions are filled appropriate to the needs of each season.  Submit headshot and resume electronically to Lisa K. Bryant, Artistic Director.  Lisa@Flatrockplayhouse.org 
  • Designers/Technicians:  Design and technical positions are advertised through ArtSearch, Off Stage Jobs and other Internet based sites. Seasonal, year round and intern positions are posted as openings occur in the scenic, lighting, sound, costume and properties departments. Contracts range from single show job-in to partial or full season. Send your information electronically to Adam Goodrum, Production Manager.  Adam@Flatrockplayhouse.org
  • Administrative positions: Posted on an as needed basis.

How does one become a volunteer for Flat Rock Playhouse?

  • We love volunteers and are blessed with an amazing group who support us and the arts community year after year! If you are interested in working with our Master Gardeners, please email Tamsin Alpress at Tallpress@Tamsinandcooke.com. If you are interested in working with our volunteer guild, Supporting Players, please email Karolyn Killian volunteer@flatrockplayhouse.org
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