For 53 years there has been outdoor drama at the Cliffside Amphitheater courtesy of Theatre West Virginia. As of Tuesday evening a decision by the theatre company's board of directors brought that to a close.
General Manager of Theatre West Virginia said that the wet summer combined with a decrease in funding left the group with financial obligations they could not meet. The theatre company had exclusive rights to produce the plays "Honey in the Rock" and "Hatfields and McCoys," but Bowling said that the playwrights still hold the copyright to the plays and Theatre West Virginia paid royalties each year.
"It's a sad day for Southern West Virginia," said Bowling. "We are all heartbroken and devastated personally and professionally."
Employees of TWV were laid off on Wednesday morning. Two of them, including Bowling, are donating time to help with the closing process. Bowling said that they are now in the process of selling off assets, including lighting and sets. The amphitheater at Grandview is run by the National Park Service and was not an asset owned by TWV.
"Theatre West Virginia has been a huge part of my life for 23 years," said Bowling. "My hope is that, at some point in the future, it can be resurrected in a different way. I do believe, to quote Dave Morgan's closing line in Honey in the Rock---as long as West Virginia has men of courage and vision, there will always be ‘honey in the rock'."