The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival on Saturday may be the last time you can see a Jack Tale Players performance, or for that matter, any performance connected to the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre.
At the end of this past summer, the 33-year-old theater company at Ferrum College lowered its curtain for good.
The reasons for the closure haven’t been made public. Artistic director Rex Stephenson declined to comment on the closure, other than to say it wasn’t because of financial problems. Audience members came by bus from Savannah, Ga., he said.
Executive director Jody Brown also declined to comment on the reasons the theater closed. “We are leaving Ferrum College with a strong theatrical patron and financial base and an enviable record of meaningful productions,” she wrote in an email.
In July, Ferrum College announced Stephenson’s and Brown’s retirements — Brown’s earlier this month, Stephenson’s at the end of the year. Stephenson has taught in the college’s drama department since 1973. Brown, an English professor at Ferrum since 1975, served also as chairwoman of Ferrum’s fine arts and visual arts divisions from 1985 to 2001. Both completed their careers working full time with Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre, which served as an outreach program for the college. The theater consistently broke even each year, Stephenson said.