For its 13th summer season, Ensemble Stage brings four premieres to Hahn Auditorium at the Historic Banner Elk School. The professional theater company performs a world premiere, an international premiere and two regional premieres.
The theater has waited to present the world premiere, “Zaglada,” since discovering it at a theater conference in January 2020. The pandemic postponed performances that year. Then in 2021, the play — a powerful drama involving war crimes stretching back to WWII — was put off again in an effort to present lighthearted content after a year of heavy headlines.
“Usually places like Chicago, New York, Miami and San Francisco get world premieres,” says Gary Smith, artistic director for Ensemble Stage. “It’s really cool that our 99-seat professional theater in a small mountain town in North Carolina is doing this type of show.”
The international premiere “Baby on Board” originated as a French comedy in Canada. The playwright translated it into English for its American debut in Banner Elk. Opening the season are two regional premieres, meaning they have never been performed in North Carolina or any bordering states. “No Wake” is a heartwarming, humorous tale of building intergenerational relationships, while “Catch the Butcher” blends suspense with comedy.
“No Wake” kicks off the season June 24-July 2, followed by “Catch the Butcher” July 15-23, “Baby on Board” Aug. 12-20, and “Zaglada” Sept. 9-17.
Ensemble Stage’s Main Stage season complements Lees-McRae Summer Theatre, which presents two musicals from late June through late July.
“People can come in the summer and see two distinctly different productions and make a weekend out of it,” Smith says. “We have people who come all the way from Atlanta, which has tons of theater, specifically to see shows here in Banner Elk.”
In addition to four Main Stage shows, Ensemble Stage puts on interactive kids’ shows June 11 and 18, and July 9 and 30. “The Hitchcock Radio Hour,” which includes two staged radio plays, runs October 28-29. And the beloved holiday tradition “A Banner Elk Christmas 4” returns Dec. 2-18.
Tickets may be purchased individually or as a season subscription to the four Main Stage shows. To purchase, visit www.EnsembleStage.com or call (828) 414-1844.
Theater packages are available that include lodging, theater tickets, discount dining and breakfast. For details: www.BannerElk.com/theater-packages.