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Curtain hangs while council discusses

Features Editor

The Brundidge Historical Society is waiting in the wings for the the city council to either open or close the curtain on community theater in Brundidge.

The city council failed to take action Tuesday on a request by the Brundidge Historical Society to lease the old city hall building for use as a community theater. The request was made, based on the very successful opening of the group’s folklife play in the building shell in April.

Mayor Jimmy Ramage said the council discussed the request at a work session but said how the building is used and how equal access is achieved was up for discussion.

Ramage said the historical society requested that the city maintain the building and provide utilities and the historical group agreed to provide sound and lighting systems, staging and have a minimum number of performances a year.

"The play was excellent and the whole council agrees that this is something we need to continue to do," Ramage said. "We have no problem with plays being continued in the building."

The historical society’s stated intention was to have at least two folklife plays a year and a Christmas production.

Ramage said a Christmas play would be beneficial to the town during the Christmas season. Those who came would have opportunities to see what the downtown merchants have to offer and would also get to enjoy the town’s historic and highly acclaimed Christmas decorations.

"We’re not worlds apart," Ramage said. "We just want to make sure everyone is represented and we don’t face any adversity on the other end."

The request to lease the building was made at the council’s June 4 meeting by Lawrence Bowden on behalf of the historical society.

Bowden said he is optimistic that the council will grant the request.

"I think the city will be agreeable," he said. "I don’t know any reason why they wouldn’t. It is for community use. People from all aspects of the community were involved in ‘Come Home, It’s Suppertime.’ Businesses and individuals were very cooperative. There was an outpouring of community response."

Bowden said he is hopeful that the city council will allow the building to be used for plays and displays of art work.

"We will have several productions each year and the building can be used by others for similar events," he said. "Of course, there will be some limitations to its use because there is no heating or cooling system in the building. Whatever the use of the building, it will be seasonal."

Although it will be the council’s decision as to how the building can be used, Bowden said he hopes it will be for the purpose of cultural arts.

"We don’t have anything like that and we need it," he said. "I am optimist that they are going to agree to the lease. I don’t know what the discussion about the request is, but we do have deadlines to meet for grant applications and we need to begin to make preparations for the fall production if it is to be. We need to know one way or the other."