The Flat Rock Playhouse in Flat Rock traces its origins to 1937 when a group of young actors organized themselves as the Vagabond Players in the post-depression years. The same group of moved around through the area during the war years, but gravitated back to Flat Rock in 1952. That’s when they bought an 8-acre lot in the town, and put up a big-top, giving birth to the Flat Rock Playhouse.
The rest, as they say is history. The theater group continued to grow and in 1961, Flat Rock Playhouse was officially designated The State Theater of North Carolina.
Now what began as a group of vagabond actors playing summer theater for a couple of weeks a year is a theater that has an eight-month season of plays and musicals — many straight from Broadway as well as an active outreach educational program.
The Playhouse today still has the look and feel of a barn; it’s a way of paying homage to the way the Flat Rock began. But the 506-seat auditorium is a state of the art facility with the latest in electronics. What’s a bit different as well is the concession stand which is located NOT indoors but in a courtyard garden. And if you are there between acts, do try Leona’s Honey Lemonade. It is like no other lemonade.
So what can you see at the Playhouse? Just about anything. The lineup for a recent year included Agatha Cristie’s The Mousetrap, a two-week engagement by The Capitol Steps, The Buddy Holly Story, Doubt and Plaid Tidings.
Of course, before you go into the theater, walk around the town of Flat Rock and if you get there with a couple of hours to spare, visit the Carl Sandburg House just up the road.