CenterStage support needed for revival to be success


The resurgence of Sampson’s CenterStage Performing Arts Series is like a breath of fresh air to a county that is making positive and constant changes on a regular basis now, showing growth and renewed energy after what has seemed to be a long road back from a faltering economy.

This week, Expo Center director Ray Jordan announced the return of the series, saying that constant requests and creative partnerships between local organizations and various talent agencies across the United States are making the rebirth possible.

There is much positive to garner from the return of the CenterStage Series, not the least of which is offering residents here and across the area an opportunity at some great entertainment in their own back yards, without the hassle of driving long distances to get much the same thing.

And, of course, it allows for good use of Sampson’s fine Exposition Center. While the center gets plenty of traffic for outside functions, it will be nice to see it utilized again as a public venue, opening its doors to provide an virtual entertainment buffet sure to whet most, if not all, appetites.

It’s hard to believe CenterStage has been dark for six years, but the lights went out on the series in 2009, mainly because of an economic downturn and the financial burden it was placing on an already over-taxed county government. Those reasons, coupled with sometimes lackluster ticket sales, brought the curtain down. But, according to Jordan, there have been consistent inquiries about its revival since the that closure.

Now that the series is making a comeback, albeit one that, wisely, will start off slow to gauge response, we hope residents here will support it, considering the venue to be an entertainment option as viable as a drive to other parts of the state and beyond.

After all, it will take that support to ensure that the series can continue.

It appears, from the amount of inquiries and requests Jordan has had over the last few years that there will be numbers to support the two upcoming shows and beyond, but the truth will lie in ticket sales, and that, in large part, will be up to residents who, we hope, will be active participants.

Jordan’s hope is that eventually the CenterStage Series can be returned to a full agenda of entertainment events each month. We have that same hope. But again, hopes hinge on support, and support must be garnered from those who will take advantage of the shows being offered and spread the word to friends and family to join them at the Expo Center.

We applaud Jordan for working tenaciously to revive the CenterStage Series, meeting a need that is once again being expressed in the community.

Sampson County is growing, energy is at an all-time high and many new ventures are being embarked upon. New and exciting offerings must be a part of this spurt if we are to continue attracting business, industry and people to our area.

The CenterStage Series is one of those opportunities that needs to be realized and given a shot to succeed once again.

We believe it can. Time will tell if we are correct in our assumption.

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