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Center for Arts is out of business as public venue

The Center for Arts & Entertainment received grants and support from the Hendersonville City Council, Community Foundation, arts councils and businesses to reopen with health precautions last spring. The Center for Arts & Entertainment received grants and support from the Hendersonville City Council, Community Foundation, arts councils and businesses to reopen with health precautions last spring.

The Center for Arts & Entertainment, a downtown performance venue that opened in 2019 with an ambitious lineup of shows, murder mystery dinner theater and other live performances, is no longer operating as a public theater.

Jeanie Linders, the creator of the successful “Menopause: The Musical” show, says she is hoping to stage a new production that would rehearse here before going on the road.
“What we’re doing is repurposing the theater to become a producing theater for touring shows,” Linders said. “I’ve optioned two shows that I’m going to put on the road and my plan is to rehearse them here and send them on the road. We’ll probably run a workshop show.”
“But right now with Covid everything is up for grabs,” she said. “What we are doing is downsizing. We have first-class lights, sound, chairs, the whole nine yards. We’re offloading all our equipment at great prices.”
David Adams, the agent for the property owner, said he is working with Linders on a month-to-month basis.
“She wants to do, I call it a pilot, where she could take a show on the road,” he said. “If she gets to the point where she finds money to do that then we’ll create another relationship. It’s a little complicated. Since Covid our relationship has been very short-term.”
In the meantime, the space is for sale or lease, Adams said, adding that Linders is aware of that. She has agreed that “she’d be out as fast as she could” if the property is sold or leased. The building at 125 S. Main St., is owned by Tom Fazio, the formerly Hendersonville-based golf course designer who now lives in South Florida.

Last year, Linders persuaded the Hendersonville City Council, the Community Foundation of Henderson County, the Henderson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council to donate money to pay for $30,000 worth of improvements “to assist in making the downtown theater safer for events.” The improvements, she told the City Council last December, were to include “virus killing” HVAC filters, staff masks, face shields, sanitizing crews, temperature-scanning kiosks and plexiglass shields in the lobby. The City Council — in a 3-2 vote — and Community Foundation each agreed to donate $15,000. The amount the arts council donated was never publicized.


Linders told the Hendersonville Lightning that she’s sold or donated much of the equipment and furnishings to other theaters.
“We donated a lot to Hendersonville Community Theatre,” she said. “We donated our ticketing operation to Hendersonville Symphony. I sold the coffee shop to a theater in Florida.” Anyone interested in buying the furniture and fixtures, she said, may contact her at jeanie@thecenterae.org.

She was not ready to announce the show she’s hoping to produce here.
“No, it’s not ‘Menopause 2.’ It’s nothing I’m writing,” she said. “I’ve optioned it from another writer. We’ll have a celebrity in it and as soon as I find out who it is I’ll let you know.”