augusta free press news

Wayne Theatre to ramp up programming

The Wayne Theatre will open in a year or two with a fully formed programming schedule that will get going this summer in a familiar venue a block down Main Street.

“The opportunity to sublease the facility at 329 West Main could not come at a better time. We are looking towards the reopening of the Wayne Theatre in 2012. This move will provide a natural transition for the Alliance while building on our success with the Radio Hour,” said Bill Hausrath, the chairman of the Wayne Theatre Alliance, which announced today that it will lease space at 329 W. Main St. that will allow for a significant expansion of programming starting in August.

The Alliance has been using the space currently occupied by Blue Ridge Christian Fellowship for its monthly River City Radio Hour live-performance series. The Radio Hour will expand to twice-monthly with plans by the WTA to add to the monthly schedule.

Board member Tracy Straight is working with Wayne Theatre Alliance executive director Clair Myers to develop the first season of performances. One likely production is Barbara Bates in a one-woman show in September. Other options currently under consideration are artists listed in the Virginia Commission for the Arts roster and the Mid Atlantic Foundation register.

“I am very excited about what we are going to be able to do to move our programming forward,” Straight said. “I have been working towards the reopening of the Wayne Theatre since the WTA was organized in 2000 to save the building. This interim step is an ideal way to get the organization and the community ready for what the Wayne will be.”

The Alliance is within $600,000 of completing its $3.2 million capital campaign and is currently working on finalizing a construction loan that can get work going at the historic theatre.

“The process is complicated because of the size of the loan, the nature of the business, and the tax credits associated with the project,” said Jim Wilson, treasurer of the Alliance. “We are confident that all the ‘T’s and I’s’ will be crossed and dotted soon and we will have the funds to complete the project. That will be our next announcement.”

“We are all very excited to begin our life as a presenting and a producing organization,” said Gayle Mapstone, Vice Chair for Administration. “I remember when the Wayne was the community’s entertainment center. I look forward to bringing that energy back to Waynesboro.”

The Alliance will announce its new season of entertainment in June.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at