COLUMBIA — The Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, damaged in a fire on April 5 , plans to celebrate a new stage and theater lights with a ribbon cutting ceremony, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Mayor Bob McDavid is slated to cut the ribbon with members of the Columbia Professional Firefighters Local 1055, the Columbia City Council and representatives of businesses that supported the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre's recovery.
Thanks in part to last year’s impressive attendance at Maplewood Barn events and an outpouring of community support, the theater is thriving in the face of tragedy.
What: "Arsenic and Old Lace" performance
When: 8 p.m. nightly through Sunday
Where: Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, 2900 E. Nifong Blvd.
Cost: $8 adults; $6 senior citizens and students with school IDs; $1 children 10 years and under
Construction trailers, loaned by Little Dixie Construction, provide storage and space for the actors. A concessions trailer will serve food.
The Columbia Parks and Recreation Department restored electricity and redid the park lighting.
To Michael Scott, the president of the board of directors for Maplewood Barn, staff members at Parks and Recreation are “heroes.”
The third performance of "Arsenic and Old Lace," The Phoenix Season's first play, will follow the ceremony.
The season was to start on May 14, but rain delayed reconstruction.
Lee Wilkins Black, vice president of marketing for the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre board of directors, hopes pleasant
weekend weather will draw crowds for performances on Friday, Saturday
and Sunday nights.
There are no plans to rebuild the barn, which was constructed in 1877.
The board of directors for the theater anticipate deciding on a plan this summer to replace it with a new structure.
Black said the historical value of the building was lost when it burned.
"Nothing can replace a 140-year-old barn," she said.
"Whatever we build out there is going to be armored," Black said.
The Maplewood Barn had previously been victim to multiple incidents of vandalism.
Black said the new structure "will memorialize the barn, but it won't be the barn."