Downtown Maryville, TN was once the thriving center of the community. Over time, like almost all downtown areas in small towns, the area that used to be jumping with activity fell out of favor as commerce in general moved toward other areas of the city. One thing in downtown Maryville remained the same however, the beauty the quaintness and of course, the Capitol Theatre.
The Capitol Theatre was built in 1934. It took over the location that had been the home of JC Penny before this point. The Capitol was the largest of three possible locations to see movies in downtown Maryville. Seating 1000 people, the Captiol was a jumping place up until the time it closed in the 1970s, as the downtown area felt the effects of commercial businesses moving. From the 30s through the 70s, people flocked to this theater. Showing both motion pictures and live performances, the Capitol Theatre was THE place to go for decades. Closing in the 1970s, the building went through a lot of tenants over the years, in more recent years, the Capitol has seen a bit of renovation and is returning to its former glory.
Now, the Capitol Theatre is a special events venue. From wedding receptions to corporate engagements, the Capitol can now be rented out to cover all of your party and event needs. The Capitol Theatre offers lots of amenities that you will not find at other places:
- retractable silver screen
- dance floor
- catering kitchen
- flexible seating
In addition the staff at the theater can help you plan you revent and fins an additional need syou might have while you are getting your gala or reception ready. The Capitol Theatre has now become the place to have your event. The Capitol Theatre is also helping to revitalize the downtown area of Maryville. Surrounded by unique shopping experiences and restaurants, the Capitol has changed with the times but it has also kept that same feel that it had back when it was founded.
Kermit Hunter is a well known American playwright. But, he is also known in the history of the Smokies due to the fact that he wrote Unto These Hills, the second longest running outdoor drama in the US and one of the highlights to any visit to Cherokee, NC. He also wrote the outdoor drama, Horn in the West which is performed each season in Boone, NC.
Kermit Hunter was born in West Virginia. After a time in the US Army in World War II, he went on to manage the North Carolina Symphony. Over time, working with various theatrical companies, Hunter went on to his graduate studies program in Dramatic Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While he was there several of his plays would be produced by the Carolina Playmaker’s. At this same time, the city of Cherokee started to look for someone to write a dramatic interpretation of the Cherokee people to be performed at an outdoor site in Cherokee.
Hunter jumped on this project and began to transform the information and the vision of the Cherokee Historical Association into a script and then into a production. Hunters draft won the submission contest and his most famous play, Unto These Hills was first performed in 1950. Though the play has been changed over the years and the current version has little resemblance to the original Kermit Hunter play it is still his vision that put this outdoor drama on the map. Hunter parlayed the success with Unto These Hills into scripting the play that would be performed by the Cherokee nation in Oklahoma until the mid-90s – The Trail of Tears.
Hunter’s other legacy is the play Horn in the West which is performed in Boone, NC during season each year. This play tells the story of the people that founded the city of Boone and the Western north Carolina mountains. Horn of the West features such American heroes as Daniel Boone and the story of a very dramatic and at times tragic time in American history. This outdoor drama, while not as long running as Unto These Hills is still a part of the history and cultural scene in the Smokies.
In all, Kermit Hunter wrote more then 40 historical plays. He is still known for his work in the Smokies and the people that are performing those works today in the same theaters and venues owe the tales the tell to Kermit Hunter.
Highlands, NC has one of the best repertory theaters in Western North Carolina. The Highlands Playhouse puts on countless shows throughout the year, using both professional and amateur actors. They stage productions that range from one man shows to full stage productions to the delight of both the local and the tourist alike.
In 1938 a group of dedicated Highlanders presented a version of Kaufman and Connelly’s Dulcy. They put the show on in the local school auditorium. Thus, the Highland Playhouse was born. Over the years they have been under many different artistic directors and have seen many different actors on the stage. They have performed everything from comedies to drams and everything in between. This quaint theater has moved several times over the years but it is now in its own theater, near downtown and within easy walking distance for all of those tourists that enjoy Highlands throughout the year.
The Highlands Playhouse – whose legal name is the Highland Community Theater – is a non-profit organization that is funded by the people of Highlands, by companies in the area and of course by ticket sales to the shows they put on each year. The monies they collect go to pay for the professional actors and actresses they bring in and of course to maintain the theater that they perform in.
Visit the Highlands Playhouse website and see what they have to offer the next time you are in town. Plan your visit around taking in a show. Sit down in an audience with towns people and tourists alike. Especially, if you are in Highlands for a romantic getaway, there i snothing better for a night out with that special someone then to take in a play or live show.
362 Oak Street