All the World’s A Stage, but…

Theatre during renovation

Between 1966 and 2005 a performance stage–as Shakespeare would have recognized it–did not exist in Mountain City or Johnson County, Tenn. Church social halls and school gymnasiums were the only venues for live entertainment but were no match for events staged in the “old high school auditorium” which closed in 1966 (with the opening of the “new” high school which had no auditorium).

Evelyn Cook, a former drama teacher at the high school, and others “hatched” the idea of removing the stored lockers and school desks, buying new seats, curtains and sound system and re-establishing the auditorium as a performance stage in a community which had none.

New seats and refurbished balcony
New seats and refurbished balcony

In seven years a small group of volunteers raised the money, organized labor and oversaw a top-to-bottom renovation which breathed life into a 1923 era, almost abandoned high school auditorium. In September, 2005, the facility reopened as Heritage Hall Theatre, an intimate, warm, community-based-theatre suitable for a wide range of performances and events.

Heritage Hall Theare board of directors
Our 2014 Board of Directors, Officers

Today you will enjoy a diverse group of entertaining events throughout the year. From blues to rock, from plays to pageants, this is a perfect location to enjoy a performance or book for your group.Mountain City, for those not familiar with the friendly small town in the far northeast corner of Tennessee, is a short drive from towns in three states:

  • Boone, NC, 25-30 min.
  • Blowing Rock 45 min.
  • Abingdon, VA, 40 min.
  • Damascus, VA, 20 min.
  • Elizabethton, TN, 40 min.
  • Bristol TN/VA, 1 hour

One historical footnote: It is believed some of the first country music broadcast anywhere was performed on the Heritage Hall stage and aired by a student-run radio station atop the building, occurring in the years leading up to the Bristol Sessions (first recording of country music).

Our Scrap Book:
In October, 2008, Heritage Hall honored The Barter Theatre for their 75 years of service and their important role in mentoring Heritage Hall Theatre.

Richard Rose, left, Barter Theatre’s creative director, who helped Heritage Hall’s revival get under way.