Mold in COA auditorium leaves Theatre of Dare homeless

By on September 20, 2017

Spamalot was featured in February. (Kip Tabb)

As its 27th season approaches, Theatre of Dare finds itself in a serious housing crisis.

After a rainy summer, the College of The Albemarle Auditorium in Manteo that the Theatre of Dare community group has called home for more than 20 years has become overrun with mold.

Dare County officials have told theater leaders the cost to remediate the problem is prohibitive, and the auditorium will likely have to close permanently.


The auditorium was built as part of the first Manteo High School on U.S. 64 and opened in 1958.

Appearing before the Dare County Board of Commissioners on Monday, Theatre of Dare President Don Bridge asked for the county’s help in finding a new home for performing arts in the area.

“We are the only true community theater group in the entire region,” said Bridge. “We hope Dare County will consider the need to keep local performing arts alive on the Outer Banks.”

The auditorium opened in 1958. (TOD)

In the meantime, the Theatre of Dare is scrambling to find performance space for the five productions it has slated for its upcoming season.

The first production, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, will open October 20 in the Soundstage building on the grounds of The Lost Colony.


Theatre of Dare’s Christmas show, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!), will be a traveling, dinner theater-type show that will be produced at several venues across the Outer Banks.

That leaves Theatre of Dare’s three 2018 productions Almost Maine, Cabaret and Love, Sex, and the I.R.S. without places to perform.

Board members have begun an intense search for venues to cover this season’s productions and beyond.


“It’s a little bit ironic,” said Tim Hass, Theatre of Dare vice president . “We’ve had a really good run of shows artistically for the past several seasons, and last winter’s Spamalot was probably the most commercially successful show we’ve ever had. So we felt like the group was really on a roll. And now we’re homeless.”


  • Carter McKay

    Wouldn’t a solution be the use of the auditorium at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills?

    Wednesday, Sep 20 @ 10:04 pm
  • Liz

    You have enough school auditorium facilities. Or empty storefronts. But you must make this happen!

    Wednesday, Sep 20 @ 10:52 pm
  • nigel

    I am sorry for the plight of these actors but lets try & be a bit less dramatic (pun intended), you are not homeless…people in hurricane ravaged areas are homeless! First world problem for sure.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 4:45 am
  • Steve Gibbons

    what about that theatre space in Kitty Hawk across from Longboards in the shopping center?

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 7:38 am
  • Really?

    So now it’s cost prohibitive to remediate a problem stemming from lack of maintenance yet we can pump millions of dollars of sand on our beaches just to watch it wash away?? Is there any way to have any worse leadership from dare county and any more incompetence at maintaining our facilities? Kind of reminds me of the old LOC building, do absolutely no maintenance then when years of doing nothing catches up, throw their hands in the air and claim there’s not anything that can be done because its “cost prohibitive” Really? Sad to have such poor leaders.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 8:21 am
  • Jon

    The school auditoria can’t be used by an outside group without paying for them. An exception for one group would mean an exception for all, and that would cost the schools a good amount of money. Probably the same story at RIFP I would guess. I don’t know what the arrangement was at COA, but they’ve been generous with their facility in the past. Sad to see it gone.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 9:26 am
  • Cory

    Festival Park in Manteo has a great indoor theater space.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 11:50 am
  • surf123

    If we had not blown so money on the Taj Mahals that the Justice and Emergency Operation Centers there might be some for mold remediation. Maybe they could apply for funds from the Occupancy Tax (Tourism Board) slush fund. Oh wait…that is only for the benefit of the tourists and to bring as many more people in to make is miserable for all.

    Thursday, Sep 21 @ 4:26 pm
  • Thinking About the Future

    Festival Park sounds as though it could be a real plus. I haven’t read anything lately about what’s going on with the funding for that entity but more local involvement and use seems like a great idea, Cory.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 8:00 am
  • Jackie Harris

    Maybe the newspaper can find out how much the schools charge for there rent of the auditorium’s in Manteo,FF,Nags Head and see what is the cheapest??. I know that a church uses FF for services so the rent must be reasonable!

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 8:11 am
  • Davis

    From what I hear, the schools charge an exorbitant amount of money (even to local non-profits) to use their space… and the old Jubilee building is in even worse shape than COA right now. It’s strange and sad that Dare County has absolutely no public performing arts space.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 9:35 am
  • Seal

    Really, You’ve hit the nail square on the head !!!

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 11:38 am
  • DS

    This complex, also the former Manteo High School was a dump back in the late 70’s and early 80’s when I was a student there. The auditorium would flood on a regular basis. We used to joke and call it the “Lily Pond”. If memory serves me correct there was even a drain in the floor.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 12:11 pm
  • Really?

    And don’t blame the rainy summer, it’s not the rains fault. The rain only comes into a building where you let it from lack of proper maintenance. Lol!

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 12:38 pm
  • T.W. Mangrove

    That auditorium has been around 5 years longer than there has been a bridge to Hatteras Island. As mentioned, it was built on the cheap to begin with. I’d say maintenance has done a pretty good job keeping it going this long.

    Friday, Sep 22 @ 4:55 pm
  • Joyce Patterson

    i was also thinking about the property in Kitty Hawk in shopping center next to 7-11
    I am sure someone could check into that space. It never hurts to ask.

    Sunday, Sep 24 @ 2:30 pm
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