JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — With the addition of lights and stage rigging by the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) to the Jackson Theatre, Jonesborough officials believe these are the final touches to the almost seven-year project.
The renovation of the building that was once used as the town theatre began in 2015. The theatre and box office make up three formerly sectioned-off portions of the building.
The Jonesborough BMA plans to fund the addition of lights and stage rigging with grant money.
Some finishing touches need to be made on the Stage Door box office and concession area. This part of the building has two floors with concession stands and bathrooms. The designs follow an Art Deco theme to match when historic theatres were in their heyday.
The latest work on the theatre is a sign that the long-standing project is coming to a close.
“I think at the end of the day when we’re done, the amount of money that’s been put into it minus your grants and then the value of what we’ve created right here, we’re probably going to balance out right there,” said Jonesborough Mayor Chuck Vest. “So, when you start messing with old buildings, you start running into a little bit of hurdles. But for the most part, we’re at the finish line right now.”
The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre (JRT) already has plans for a show at the end of their season to be held in the Jackson Theatre. Artistic director for JRT Jennifer Bernhardt said they plan to put on the musical ‘Peter Pan’ in July 2024.
“We’ve wanted to do that show for a long time, but for obvious reasons, we could not do that in our theater,” said Bernhardt. “We don’t have the ceiling space above the stage. And so, the Jackson [Theatre] will have that. They’ll have the rigging so that we will be able to fly actors.”
The Jackson Theatre, with about double the seating space, will help get more people in to see the show.
JRT added more shows to its ‘Crazy For You’ production after the other sold out. The Jackson Theatre will also have wings, which JRT currently doesn’t have. The bigger space will also make shows from JRT more efficient.
“This is going to be helpful as well,” said Bernhardt. “You won’t have to invest so much time and you’ll have so much fun, the same amount of fun, but we won’t run as many weekends.”
Last October, Jonesborough officials told News Channel 11 that the project would be finished late this year. On Tuesday, leaders said the theater will be finished this year, but will not be used until the first of 2024.