Why is the Bonnie Kate so important to our community?
People, Involvement, Enjoyment, Entertainment
There are lot of reasons that the Bonnie Kate Theater is an important asset to the community. The Bonnie Kate Theater is continuing to offer programs and events as they work toward becoming a center for the performing arts in Elizabethton. Plans include adding music classes and performances. Stay tuned!
During the years 1926 through 1929 Elizabethton experienced a boom time when the Bemberg and Glanzstoff Rayon factories began operations there and several theaters were the result of that boom. The Bonnie Kate was built in the Classical Revival style of architecture and opened in the spring of 1926. It was owned by Mrs. Olivia “Ollie” Hogue Brown, a coal baroness from Bluefield, West Virginia.
The theater opened to a full house of 500 enjoying the showing of a silent film. During the 1930’s and 40’s, a live local music show called “Barrel of Fun” was broadcast by two radio stations to a listening audience reported to be in the millions in the southeastern United States.The theater was later converted to a split screen and rocking chair seating was installed in 1969.
The Bonnie Kate Theater was named after Katherine Sherrill Sevier, a heroine of Carter County in the 1700’s and the wife of the first Governor of Tennessee. Her reputation as a fine woman inspired the nickname, Bonnie Kate.
A fully restored Bonnie Kate will host an array of events ranging from live theater productions to musical presentations. It will be the center for the arts in the Carter County/Elizabethton community, offering opportunities for classic movies, classes and workshops and community gatherings.
Plans include restoring the stage area, adding period-appropriate lighting and decor., painting, fixing electric work, and adding stage lights, chairs and sound. A sprinkler system. and roof improvements will be a part of the reivtalization plan as well. In the future, a building addition which extends into the back lot will allow for adding a thrust stage, exposing the original decorations on the back wall and make room for a backstage and dressing rooms.
Bonnie Kate Theater Restoration Project
The Elizabethton / Carter County Foundation, The Bonnie Kate Theater Board of Directors and the City of Elizabethton have partnered in a fundraising campaign to restore this wonderful old theater.
We invite businesses, organizations and individuals to become part of this important project, one that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
To make a contribution, checks or other gifts should be made payable to:
Elizabethton / Carter County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 695, Elizabethton, TN 37644
Gifts by credit card can be made by clicking the button below, after the site loads select Carter County from the map or county listing.
Thank you for your support!