Since being founded in 1994 by Lynn Pryer, the Gilbert Theater has provided quality contemporary and classical theatrical productions for our diverse community including: children, the elderly, minorities, and the economically disadvantaged while at the same time giving local and guest artists a venue to display their unique talents.
The theater was founded in the basement of Lynn Pryer’s home in 1994. The theater was also located above the Arts Council building on Hay Street in Downtown Fayetteville before settling into its’ current home on the corner of Green and Bow Streets located near the Market House. The Gilbert Theater is named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. We are now located on the second floor of the Fascinate U Children’s Museum at 116 Green street in historic downtown Fayetteville.
For many years, the Gilbert has produced classics in theater as well as outstanding contemporary works by noted playwrights such as: Donald Margulies, Eve Ensler, Suzan-Lori Parks, Leroi Jones, Paula Vogel, Christopher Durang, Edgar Lee Masters, Eve Merriam, Jane Martin, Athol Fugard, Moises Kaufman and Dylan Thomas to name a few. The work of many established as well as local up and coming writers such as Stephen Miles, John Merritt, James Dean, Chris Canfield and Jim Geoghan have been presented as well. A benefit performances of Eve Ensler’s, “The Vagina Monologues” was presented to raise funds and awareness for the local Rape Crisis Center and C.A.R.E. Battered Women’s Shelter. The Gilbert is proud to be members in good standing with the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, NCTC and SETC. The diversity of our community is served through our diverse projects and productions which have included, the Gilbert Glee, the Gilbert Conservatory, the Guild, the REP, creation of Commedia dell’Arte actors, a children’s puppet show, a special performance for a blind/non-sighted audience, staged readings, workshops on the various aspects of theater production lead by experts in their fields, creation and implementation of a state-wide original playwriting competition and recognition of outstanding new writers and production of original local/regional plays. We involve students whenever possible both on stage and off.
In June of 2012, Robyne Parrish replaced Lynn Pryer as Artistic Director of the Gilbert. During this transition, the Gilbert graduated to a new level. The Gilbert is now a semi-professional, community-minded company. Parrish worked to create a strong education program by launching the Gilbert Conservatory, the Gilbert Rep and the Gilbert Glee Club. Parrish also made efforts to grow a strong volunteer base for the company through the Gilbert Guild (founded by Tony Valcarcel). Parrish continued the Pryer tradition of giving local actors, musicians and artists a place where they could practice their craft with the added incentive of allowing guest professionals to visit, work and share their wealth of knowledge, doubling efforts to achieve the best possible creative process. With Through her work, the Gilbert now hires a small percentage of union actors and professional designers from around the states to build a stronger and more fully realized company and every artist who works for the Gilbert is compensated in some way for their time and talents.
In February 2017, Matthew Overturf replaced Robyne Parrish, becoming the third Artistic Director of the Gilbert Theater. Overturf has an exciting energy and drive and is dedicated to continuing the traditions set forth by Pryer and Parrish that have made the Gilbert a landmark in the arts community of Fayetteville NC. Please see the staff page for Matthew Overturfs bio.