There's no question that the small southern Elizabeth City is growing in population, prestige, and overall culture, and the Encore Theatre Company is doing a fine and longstanding job of making this transition come to fruition. The company, which recently celebrated its 20 year anniversary, allows professional and amateurs from all across the community shine in a number of noteworthy productions. From thought provoking dramas to lighthearted and family-friendly musicals, the Encore Theatre Company allows everyone in Elizabeth City to enjoy an occasional night out at the theater.

The Encore Theatre Company began in 1992, when a group of local thespians joined forces and later became the official Company that it is today. From the very beginning, this group of theater-lovers was an interesting cross section of the community, including professionals in a wide range of theatrical aspects, and locals who always wanted a chance to be a star. In the first few years, the group would find varying venues to stage performances, but in 1995, found a more permanent venue above the Pasquotank Arts Council Gallery. Renovations were initiated to turn this unused upstairs of an expansive downtown building into an inviting theater, and the end result was a 131 seat theater, complete with power, lights, sound, seating, and a central control booth. This new space became known thereafter as "The Main Street Stage."

Another move was on the horizon as the Pasquotank Arts Council Gallery became the Pasquotank Arts Council Gallery, and had a subsequent move to the newly renovated "Old Chesson's Building." During this process, the Pasquotank Arts Council implemented a brand new two-story 250 seat theater, the Maguire Theatre, which is where the Encore Theatre Company began staging productions in 2009.

The theater, despite being a much larger version of the original, is still intimate enough so that every patron has a fantastic view of the darkened stage ahead. With stadium style seats and a wide stage that's protected by a signature red curtain, the darkened theater presents a perfect atmosphere for enjoying a meticulously rehearsed and staged production. Since it was founded, the Encore Theatre Company has produced more than three dozen main production, which have included musicals, comedies, and serious dramas.

Shows are held at least three times a year, and potential patrons can view a list of upcoming events at the theater company's website, Previous productions include The Sound of Music, Damn Yankees, Arsenic and Old Lace, Cabaret, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, as well as a number of other cutting-edge dramas and musicals, ensuring that every year presents a new production or three that peeks any theater-goer's interest. Each production generally has between four to six evening shows, typically held on weekends, as well as a matinee or two for afternoon patrons.

Tickets are generally around $16 or so, although frequent theater-goers can purchase season tickets to enjoy the best seats and purchase additional tickets before they are available to the public. More information on tickets and membership can be found online at

Once at the show, visitors will find an ample concessions stand which serves water, soda, beer, and wine to patrons before the show and during the intermission. Restrooms are also located at the facilities of course, and the theater has an easy-to-access location in the northern section of downtown at the intersections of East Colonial Ave. and North Martin Street. Because of this locale, patrons will find they can easily turn a show into a full date night, with a visit to one of the local downtown eateries an easy venture before arriving at the theater.

The Encore Theatre Company is also always looking for new cast and crew members to help with upcoming productions, and more information on auditions or joining the Encore team can be found online at A fun local outlet for Elizabeth City locals, Encore gives residents a chance to shine in its critically acclaimed productions throughout the year.

Elizabeth City is certainly known as a quiet Inner Banks town, but its budding art scene is gaining some much-deserved regional and state-wide recognition. Longstanding institutions like the Encore Theatre Company allow locals and visitors alike to enjoy a night on the town while watching talented Inner Banks locals strut their stuff in a number of nationally acclaimed and recognized productions. A uniquely exuberant experience that will make any newcomer a fan of the local culture, the Encore Theatre Company is paving the way for fun nights out in an otherwise sleepy city that is picking up steam as a premier Inner Banks destination.


Elizabeth City