Theatre West Virginia Actors Have Found a New Home in Beckley
– Erin Stone
(Beckley, WV) WWNR – Theatre West Virginia is finding a new home for students that are coming in from out of state to perform during the summers at the out-door amphitheater. This is all possible through the generosity of Stephen P. New, a local attorney and former President and CEO of theatre West Virginia.
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Even though he may no longer hold a formal position in Theatre West Virginia, he is very passionate about the young adults that participate and it is clear why. He shared a sweet story of his daughter coming to him to ask what he was going to do about the theater closing.
As he puts it, “Unfortunately that was the year that Theater West Virginia was to go under … She wanted to save Theatre West Virginia and she said ‘Daddy you’re not going to let them, you’re not going to let them do this. What are you going to do? You can’t let them do this to us.’ She and her little best friend had made posters and it was funny they were out collecting money for an organization that had gone under. So Amy, my wife, said we’re going to look like fraudsters because everybody had read in the paper Theater West Virginia has gone under. And here’s our daughter trying to collect money for it. I didn’t know at the time but Scott Hill and Mike Cavendish and some others were already trying to put a movement together to save Theatre West Virginia.”
Well, after realizing what this meant to the community, his family, and to himself the journey began. First with helping keep the theater open and then with serving as a member. Now, this new apartment building with allow students to really have a beautiful home away from home. A place to truly relax and make memories with their fellow students.
When the New family first viewed the building for purchase back in 2019, only Stephen was able to see the potential past the dead racoon in the corner of the lower apartment. That is a true story. Walking past ripped out electrical, a dead racoon, and missing water heaters most would not have even given a second glance. But with vision and enthusiasm, anything is possible.
“Never let anyone just tell you that you can’t do anything. It would have been easy for this building to still be sitting here vacant, dilapidated in just horrible shape and it really just takes having some vision, putting some resources together, and saying hey I want to make a change for the better.”
Welcome Theatre West Virginia to your new home away from home and wonderful rehearsal space for many years to come.
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