BUCKHANNON – “What’s in a name?” one of the world’s greatest playwrights, William Shakespeare, famously asked in “Romeo and Juliet.”
As it turns out, the legacy of the founder of Buckhannon Community Theatre – the late James Knorr – as well as the paramount role BCT plays in the city and county’s arts and culture community, will be represented in the name of the box office area and lobby/foyer of the historic Colonial Theatre, located at 48 E. Main St., once it’s renovated.
Knorr, who founded BCT, was well known throughout the community for his talents as a choir/music teacher and as a ventriloquist.
At Thursday’s Buckhannon City Council meeting, BCT treasurer Risë Straight Hanifan presented Mayor David McCauley with a $10,000 check to fund the restoration project in exchange for naming rights of the lobby/foyer and box office area.
“Buckhannon Community Theatre met Monday evening, and we have voted to take some naming rights for the Colonial Theatre lobby and box office area, so today we are making a donation of $10,000 to the Colonial Theatre project to be followed up with a donation of $5,000 a year over the next three years,” Hanifan said.
Thanking Hanifan and the BCT board, McCauley noted the total pledge amounted to $25,000.
Hanifan said that although the name of the lobby and box office area has not yet been finalized yet, the BCT board plans to name it “something along the lines of the Buckhannon Community Theatre James W. Knorr Lobby or foyer.”
“It’s both to recognize BCT in the community and to recognize Jim Knorr’s invaluable contributions to BCT and also to the Buckhannon community,” Hanifan added.
The city purchased the historic theatre, which had mostly recently housed various bars, for $60,000 from property owner Catherine Cuppari. Thanks to the efforts of city architect Bryson VanNostrand, the city was awarded an $102,000 West Virginia Division of Culture and History grant in 2017.
The multi-phase project is expected to cost approximately $495,000.