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Lamplight Theatre making jump to bigger stage in Kingsport

By Laura Halm
Published On: Mar 06 2013 08:30:37 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 07 2013 02:29:57 PM CST
LAMPLIGHT THEATRE MOVING
SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

The 'For Sale' sign is up at a local theater but it's actually good news, we're talking about Lamplight Theatre making a jump to a bigger stage.

We've been following the story from the beginning and Wednesday night we caught up with the owner to learn more about their big move.

You can call it a labor of love -- Lamplight Theatre, a Christian performing arts center sitting high on a ridge in Fall Branch, had a modest beginning back in 2005. But there's always been the hope for a bigger stage according to owner Billy Wayne Arrington. "It was still on my heart and I kept thinking, 'Leave me alone Lord because we're fine here,'" he said.

After many plays and performances, crowds were getting bigger and it was time to do something. Now those prayers have been answered; soon the marquee on the Strand Theatre in Kingsport will read Lamplight Theatre.

Life is always full of tests and it's taken about a year and a half to be able to move. "We could not financially afford to move downtown and own both buildings, so we were approached by our own production people and the community here saying, 'we can get down there,'" added Arrington.

We learned this move is possible through donations to help pay for things like the mortgage and utilities, with the hope to help downtown in more ways than one. "[Visitors] have to eat, they'll be buying gifts. So hopefully it will bring a lot to the downtown area as far as revenue," said Arrington.

But there's a message on this journey that strikes much deeper for Arrington. "I know why we had to be out here, because God was building the community," he said.

There's still some renovating that needs to happen at the Strand Theatre before it's move-in ready. We learned Lamplight hopes to be in by April with their grand-opening show by May.