Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts in Franklin kicked off their 10th year anniversary celebration last week.
Before the theater in Franklin was built, the biggest plays in town took place at the local high school. Now 10 years later, general manager and artistic director Scotty Corbin estimates that over three-quarters of a million people have attended shows at the theater.
“Our actual birthday is July 3rd but we’ve decided let’s make it a year of celebration,” says Corbin.
In the new year, the theatre will be kicking off with country music group the Oak Ridge Boys who opened the first show ever at the theatre in 2009. Corbin says that over 80 percent of the visitors this year are from outside of Macon County and he hopes to continue to bring in more newcomers to the region.
“Theatre is a way to education people, to enlighten people and it’s a way to look at the work in a different way,” says Corbin.
Beyond education, Corbin says that visitors come to the area specifically for plays and concerts. Then they often stay for the weekend – which means they spend more money at local restaurants and businesses. In the last 10 years, the theater has had over 1700 events.
“We hopefully are a catalyst that will create a spark in them to come back and visit often and more often,” says Corbin.