Imperial Centre Brings “The Hobbit” to The Stage July 21-23

The Hobbit rehearsal. Source: Brooke Edwards, Theater at the Imperial Centre, Rocky Mount NC.
The Hobbit rehearsal. Source: Brooke Edwards, Theater at the Imperial Centre, Rocky Mount NC.

Tickets are on sale now for performances of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbitin the Theatre at the Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, 270 Gay Street, Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

This play is based on the famous J.R.R. Tolkien novel, as dramatized by Patricia Gray. Come and enjoy this popular story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures.

Bilbo, one of the most conservative of all Hobbits, is asked to leave his large, roomy and very dry home in the ground in order to set off as “burglar” in an attempt to recover an important treasure. It’s the last thing that any sensitive Hobbit would want to do, but great benefit eventually results — not only for Bilbo but for all of the Hobbits who inhabit Middle Earth — and the hearts of those children and adults who continue to enjoy this kind of magic.

Published almost 80 years ago, The Hobbit began as a 1937 children’s novel, and has become popular with all ages. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit almost two decades before he published the Lord of the Rings (1954).

This Summer Youth Production of The Hobbit features a cast of local youth between the ages of 7 and 17.  They are rehearsing — and have been every week day for weeks now — to bring you this stirring, beloved story. This is the first offering of this play at the Imperial Centre theatre.

This production is Directed by Brooke Edwards:

Brooke Edwards is a professional actor and director and is currently the Artistic and Managing Director of the Theatre at the Imperial Centre, where she has directed A Christmas Story, Dracula, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Mountaintop, and is currently directing The Hobbit.  She also recently starred as Nancy in their production of Oliver!. Brooke also adjuncts at North Carolina Wesleyan College in the theatre program and performed as Lady Macbeth in the department’s production of the Scottish Play. Before coming to Rocky Mount she was the Assistant Professor of Theatre at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA.  She holds an MFA in directing from Western Illinois University.  Directing credits include Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story, Quills by Doug Wright, and The Killing of Sister George for Max and Louie Productions, The Lady with All the Answers for Starry Night Repertory Theatre in Illinois, The Little Prince and The Velveteen Rabbit for Theater at Monmouth in Maine, Rabbit, Breath Boom, Laughing Wildand On the Open Road at Western Illinois University and Our Town, The Great American Trailer Park Musicaland most recently Mother Courage and Her Children at Randolph College.  Brooke is also an accomplished actress having worked professionally in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis.  She is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and a two-time Kevin Kline Award winner, 2005 for Best Supporting Actress in a Play and 2011 for Best Actress in a Play.  She has appeared in the television shows The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Pacific Blue and the film The Game of Their Lives.  Brooke has spent time at Trinity College in Dublin studying Beckett in performance with renowned Beckettian director Walter Asthmus and has presented numerous papers at conferences around the country regarding her work and studies on Beckett.

The Hobbit includes original music written by the Imperial Centre musical director, Shawn Leonard.

Shawn Leonard grew up in the suburbs of Washington DC. Music has always been a part of his life, from his childhood years listening to his folks Beatles albums to his adult years teaching and performing behind the drum set. Most of his early training was informal. A family friend and talented bass player, Jay Andriot, taught him about song form and how to play to the tune. After playing with a few bands around the DC area, Shawn moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. There he was introduced to many different styles of music as well as a more disciplined approach to studying the drums. While in Boston, Shawn performed and recorded with The NRIs, Vintage Radio, and Stefan Couture and The Campfire Orchestra. He also played in the backing bands of some talented songwriters such as Mark Renburke, Laura Imhoff and Max G.  Shawn moved to Rocky Mount to take a teaching position at Rocky Mount Academy.  Since moving here, he has been involved with the Tar River Children’s Chorus and several productions at The Imperial Center.

Performances are available for three nights:

  • July 21, 2017 @ 7:30pm
  • July 22, 2017 @ 7:30pm
  • July 23, 2017 @ 2om

Tickets are priced at $11 for Adults, $9 for Students and Seniors, and $7 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available online by visiting…/theatre-at-the-imperial-centre, or contact the Imperial Centre (between 10am and 5pm, Tuesday-Friday) by stopping by the box office, calling 252.972.1266, or sending an email.

Come and support local theatre and these young performers, and treat yourself with an enjoyable evening out.

The Imperial Centre for the Arts & Sciences, located in downtown Rocky Mount, is one of the premier cultural facilities on the eastern seaboard. Occupying the combined former sites of the Imperial Tobacco Company and old Braswell Memorial Library in downtown Rocky Mount, the complex houses an Arts Center, Children’s Museum & Science Center, and community performing arts theatre.  The Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences is owned and operated by the City of Rocky Mount.  See more at

The Hobbit rehearsal. Source: Brooke Edwards, Theater at the Imperial Centre, Rocky Mount NC.
The Hobbit rehearsal. Source: Brooke Edwards, Theater at the Imperial Centre, Rocky Mount NC.


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About Kay Whatley 2307 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.