Historic theater brings life to downtown Lumberton

LUMBERTON, SC (WMBF) Downtown Lumberton is home to a historic theater called The Carolina Civic Center. It hosts live theater, live music concerts and even movies on a big screen.

The Carolina Civic Center had a bit of a revival four years ago. The building was hosting events into the late 90s and early 2000s, but it reached a point where things were starting to fall apart and the heating and cooling failed too much to have events.

Loyal WMBF News viewers will remember in 2009 we did a story about the major renovations, and now the theater is going strong.

"The theater is really active and really busy, and we're really proud of that and thrilled," says Executive Director Richard Scieford.

It's obvious how proud Richard Scieford is of The Carolina Civic Center theater, and what's not to be proud of really?

For one, the building has been beautifully restored.

"The atmosphere of a 1928 historic theater is an utterly unique thing, and so people come here, and they're just amazed," says Scieford. "Now people are realizing that a history downtown is a beautiful thing, so a historic theater in the middle of a historic downtown is just a great combination."

"The civic center is a really beautiful theater, and it lets you shine and lets little kids shine," expresses actress Alyssa Desmit.

Desmit is a young actress who's played in three productions here. Even at her young age she sees the value in having this theater in Lumberton.

"I feel like we're king of losing some of our culture and theater brings it back, especially in buildings like this," she adds.

In addition to live theater, people can now come to enjoy musical performances and movies on the big screen.

"We're building an audience for all things. So people really appreciate being able to come and see a classic on a big screen with a huge sound system and have some popcorn," states Scieford.

Scieford adds, "We're working hard to try to get people to come down here and attend our shows and come in from places further and further out, such as Laurinburg and Florence and Fayetteville, and it's working. They come here because they hear about it and the great unique atmosphere because it really is unique."

Right now, The Carolina Civic Center is able to continue operating because of support from Lumberton's City Council. Council members allow some money from local hotel taxes to go toward the theater.

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