KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Downtown Kingsport will see a ribbon cutting on Tuesday for not just a new business, but a new live theatre, as the Lamplight Theatre holds an open house.
The theatre began in Fall Branch eight years ago with the hope that someday they would have a more accessible location.
The renovation of the old Strand Theatre has caused quite a stir. Restoration of the marquee out front of what will become the new location for Lamplight Theatre has folks talking.
Eight years ago Billy Wayne Arrington began renovating an old dinner theatre in Fall Branch. Not many believed that Christian theatre would work, especially so far from the city. "We've had last year alone about 30,000 people come through the theatre in a year's time," Carmen Phillilps said. "Being downtown hopefully we'll be able to reach more."
And they're already coming, not to see a show, but just to help get everything ready. "We're getting a lot more volunteers. We're getting a lot of people to help out because this is a bigger venue so we're going to need a lot more help," theatre manager Mary McClure said.
But it's a prayer answered for the theatre group to be more assessable to more people. "We're excited because we are going to have so many new people come. We've had people out here stopping as we've been building and refurbishing it," McClure says.
But they're not forgetting the successful shows that they've been doing for the past eight years. "As far as what we do, you'll see a lot of the same things revamped out here in a new way. Of course, we won't change our message," Phillips adds.
And it was and is that Christian message that has brought them to their new home.