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The Wilson Center

A great summer season in store for Cape Fear Stage Local residents are going to want to mark their calendars this summer season for all the Wilson Center has in store! From Illusionists, to Jay Leno to RENT! Marketing Director Brendan Cook gave me the answers to the questions I know you’ve been wanting to know... and then some.

1. Tell us a little about the Cape Fear Stage /Wilson Center. Cape Fear Stage, which has its home at the Wilson Center, is the presenting arm of Cape Fear Community College and is dedicated to bringing world-class performing arts to the Cape Fear Region, while providing students of CFCC the opportunity to gain tremendous real-world experience by working on everything from national Broadway tours to local dance productions and symphony performances. The Wilson Center, which opened in 2015, is home to the Humanities and Fine Arts departments of Cape Fear Community College, with dozens of classrooms, laboratories, studios, a studio theater, and also houses our state-of-the-art main performance hall. 2. With so many talented acts, how do you choose your artists? In selecting the artists and performances that we present, we strive to bring a selection of acts that will appeal to a wide variety of audiences. While every show might not appeal to everyone, we endeavor to be the place where audiences of all ages will find something that they enjoy. 3. What makes the Wilson Center different than other venues? The Wilson Center is unlike many performing arts centers because it truly is a student laboratory for learning. Students from CFCC have the opportunity to work in all phases of production, both in the front of the house and backstage. This provides them the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom in a real-world environment, and to see how their efforts contribute to bringing the magic and wonder of the performing art -- be it theater, music, comedy or dance -- to the audience. 4. What are some upcoming highlights? We have several exciting events coming up at the Wilson Center. We’ve partnered with Our State Magazine to create the Our State Magazine Emerging Artists Series, which pairs established artists with emerging artists based in North Carolina. As a part of that series, we have comedian Jay Leno and country star Clay Walker, who are paired with the Sea Belles of UNCW and the Folkstone String Band, respectively. In addition, Gladys Knight is making her return to the Wilson Center on July 25, two years to the day from the last time she performed here. And, we’ve also announced our 2018-19 Broadway season, which will include The King and I, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Evita, Finding Neverland, Cirque Eloize: SALOON, Rock of Ages - The 10th Anniversary Tour, Jersey Boys, Chicago, Something Rotten, and -- back by popular demand -- Kinky Boots. 5. Do you have a favorite band or act that performed there? The Wilson Center has hosted so many tremendous talents that it would truly be impossible to pick a favorite! 6. CFCC is growing so fast - are there any exciting plans for the future that you want to share? As Cape Fear Community College and the Wilson Center continue to grow and evolve, we are constantly looking for ways in which we can expand our outreach into the community, both within Wilmington and into the larger Cape Fear region. One of our most exciting new initiatives is the Broadway for a Better World program. Through the generosity of private donors, and a grant program administered by the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County, Broadway for a Better World provides free-of-charge tickets to Cape Fear Stage PNC Broadway and Stars Series performances. The mission of this program is to make the theater experience and all of the associated benefits available to underserved populations, particularly young people under the age of eighteen. We’ve already had several non-profit organizations apply for ticket grants, and those who’ve attended have had amazing experiences. It’s truly been wonderful to be able to share the magic of these performances. 7. How does someone get involved with the Cape Fear Stage shows? If you are seeking a way to become involved, then the Wilson Center Stars volunteer corps is a great place to start! Our volunteers are a tremendous asset to the Wilson Center and are, quite frankly, the secret of our success. Our Stars make putting on the show possible, working both backstage and with our guests directly. To date, our volunteers have donated nearly 48,000 hours of their time to making the magic happen not only at the Wilson Center but also at both Thalian Hall and the Kenan Auditorium at UNCW, where the volunteers also contribute their time and energy. It really is a tremendous way to be involved in the performing arts community here in the Cape Fear region.

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