Theater in Asheville, NC: Something for Everyone

Filed under: Restaurants, theater, Things to Do


It was 1977 when James and I graduated from college and our class was sandwiched between two changing worlds.  Those who graduated four year before us were very much a part of the 60’s and 70’s, while those who graduated four years later had made the transition to the Gordon Gecko 1980’s.   I think this is part of what we find so appealing  about Asheville.  With its uber monied and conservative Biltmore Village as well as the more eccentric and “hippie” downtown area it allows us to enjoy the best parts of both worlds.  One day I can shop at J. Crew and Williams-Sonoma and the next day I can be tasting locally made goat cheese from  the tattooed and long-haired sellers at the tailgate market around the corner.
Flight Wood Grill
This wonderful wealth of choice holds true for the cultural opportunities here as well.
Some of you may have read about the Montford Park Players and the special program the Carolina Bed & Breakfast has to offer with them.  (If not check-out our specials page!) but there is a lot more theater in this town than just that!  Last week James and I had a chance to sample two very different venues and shows.

About 30 minutes outside of Asheville is the town of Flat Rock, home to the Flat Rock Playhouse, the official “State Theater of North Carolina”.  The playhouse was established in 1952 by a troupe of actors who had been roaming from theater to theater and location to location since 1937 (appropriately named “The Vagabond Players“).  Over time, the theater has grown to two locations in Flat Rock and offers  educational opportunities for young actors as well as providing quality theater to the surrounding area.  Guests had told us about the improvisational show “Shear Madness” which has been held over at the Playhouse Downtown so James and I decided to take a evening out to see what it was all about. 

Interior of Flight Wood Grill

Since Flat Rock is quite near Hendersonville we decided to try out Flight Wood Grill which was one of the restaurants which participated in the Western North Carolina Chef’s Challenge this past year.  Later we discovered that there are a great many interesting looking restaurants in Flat Rock within a short walk from the Playhouse Downtown. What we didn’t know at the time was that the two theaters were not in the same place!  (This is one of the reasons why we like to try things ourselves so we can help our guests not make the same mistakes we make!).

Flat Rock Playhouse

The Magnetic Field Performance House

Once we found the right theater we enjoyed a talented cast presenting a light-hearted comedy in the manner of Neil Simon.  The original Flat Rock Playhouse (pictured here) was presenting Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap.  The performances were enjoyed by a mixed audience of all ages.  Definitely worth a trip if you like summer theater!

So that’s one side of theater in Asheville.  Here is another–

Thursday night found us in the River Arts District at the Magnetic Field Cafe, Bar and Performance House.
This unique venue definitely speaks to the cutting edge side of Asheville. 

Salmon, Melon and Mascarpone

First, a word about the food. Wow (that’s it, that’s the word!)  There were any number of things on the menu which we wanted to try.  James was intrigued by the “Pork Wings”  (tiny ribs cooked as Buffalo Wings)  on the Specials Board and I had to find out how House-cured Salmon could work with Melons and Mascarpone. I found out that mascarpone and melon have a wonderful affinity for each other.  (Look out for that combo at the Carolina some morning!) And pork wings are succulent and spicy little bites which made us wonder why no one had ever thought of that before!

The Bar at the Magnetic Field

As we enjoyed our dinner seated at a quiet table in the cafe, we watched the pre-show crowd gather at the bar.  As you might expect, it was a more adult group and much more eclectic.  We were there to see “Kerfuffle” a one man show by Holiday Childress.  Holiday is the lead singer for The Goodies, a favorite local group, so he had a good following for his opening night. And this was definitely an Asheville crowd.  James and I found ourselves seated next to a very interesting couple who told us that they wrote philosophy books together and shortly had our heads spinning with a discussion of whether or not an “infinite” being could truly be infinite since this would necessitate being “finite” as well as “infinite”.  I’m still not sure whether they were having us on or not!  But it was a great show, very different without being too out there (the first song was about foie gras as a drug).  The performance center does improve once or twice a week and James and I planned to return to see how it goes.

If you are interested in visiting any of these venues or one of the other many theaters and performance spaces in Asheville, North Carolina please feel free to give us at call at the Carolina B&B.  We will be happy to assist you in making your plans.  After all, Asheville is so much more than just the Biltmore!


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