The Parkway Playhouse, located in Burnsville, North Carolina, is the oldest continually operating summer theater in North Carolina. The Parkway Playhouse was founded in 1947 by William Raymond Taylor, a professor of drama at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. It was originally known as Burnsville Playhouse, Inc. and School of Dramatic Arts, and it was housed in the former Burnsville High School Gymnasium.


  • The Parkway Playhouse, courtesy of www.visitburnsville.com
    The Parkway Playhouse, courtesy of www.visitburnsville.com

The Parkway Playhouse, located in Burnsville, North Carolina, is the oldest continually operating summer theater in North Carolina. The Parkway Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Professor William Raymond Taylor, a professor of drama at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Taylor took on the task of planning the courses of study for the new venture, and he planned the complete conversion of the old Burnsville High School gymnasium into a well equipped theater. Because of his knowledge of the many fields connected with the theatrical profession, he became widely recognized as an authority, and he served as consultant on theater and stage design for many architects.
The Parkway Playhouse was originally known as Burnsville Playhouse, Inc. and School of Dramatic Arts, and it was housed in the former Burnsville High School Gymnasium. The Burnsville Playhouse, Inc. and School of Dramatic Arts opened August 1, 1947 with the production of Claudia. After producing the show at WCUNC, in the spring of 1947, Professor Taylor brought the production to Burnsville with complete set and costumes. Among the cast was WCUNC student Anna Kirkman, who played the title role. One Burnsville local, Rush Wray, filled in the role of Jerry Seymoure. The rest of the cast was made up of selected students from area colleges and universities.
On May 7, 1979 The Burnsville Playhouse, Inc. officially and legally became Parkway Playhouse. For many years, The Parkway Playhouse was operated as a summer stock venue and a sponsored extension of the drama departments at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the The University of Miami. In the 1990s the Parkway Playhouse became an independent theater company, and is now operating as a small professional theater company .


http://exploreburnsville.com/index.php/business/parkway-playhouse/ http://www.visitnc.com/listing/parkway-playhouse http://www.parkwayplayhouse.com/about-us/history Clay Griffith's article "Yancey Collegiate Institute Historic District" . From North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office