Spotlight: Hit the Road

courtesy of Nicola Krebill

Courtesy of Nicola Krebill

Rural Academy Orchestra

by Mimi Montgomery

In our age of instant, at-your-fingertips entertainment, The Rural Academy Theater is doing things a little differently. Each year, these Pender County-based performers take some of their original shows and hit the road in a horse-drawn wagon. The wagon also serves as a stage when the company stops for performances, using the night sky instead of spotlights, and grass instead of folding seats. The troupe’s method of transportation harks back to the days of vaudeville. The group describes it as a fresh response to societal urbanization – instead of playing in jam-packed theaters, the group of puppeteers, musicians, sculptors, and dancers is able to perform at any time at any location, no matter how rural.

On October 17, the group will bring its show to North Carolina Museum of Art’s Museum Park Theater, where it will perform original pieces and screen a silent film accompanied with music by the Rural Academy Orchestra. “We love presenting unconventional performing arts and film events in the Museum Park, and a visit by the Rural Academy Theater is right up our alley,” says George Holt, director of performing arts and film at NCMA. “We believe that fans of Paperhand Puppet Intervention will be especially charmed by this original mix of live theater, music, shadow puppetry, and film.”

In case you miss the first evening, they’ll perform again October 18 at Stafford Commons on N.C. State’s campus. Grab a blanket and plan for an evening of outdoor entertainment that’s anything but standard.

October 17, Preshow music, 7 p.m.; Performance, 7:30 p.m.; Members: $5, General: $10, Children 6 and Under: Free; 2110 Blue Ridge Road;

October 18, 6 – 8 p.m.; Suggested donation; Stafford Commons, 2610 Cates Ave.;