Bonnie Kate Theater: Moving forward but donations are lacking


ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. - Development is underway in Elizabethton to bring the historic 'Bonnie Kate Theatre' back to life, but those involved say it hasn't been easy.

A year ago the city brought the building and the Bonnie Kate Restoration Project began. Organizers have come a long way, but donations have been slim and there's so much left to do to make this place central to the community once again.

The goal is to transform the Bonnie Kate into a multipurpose space for music and theater performances, city events and school programs.

"One of the greatest things I like about theatre is being able to see kids develop a talent they didn't know they had," said Marcia Ross, program coordinator for the Bonnie Kate Restoration Project.

They've even held four theatre performances in the space, which raised enough money to buy stage lights.

"A couple of times we were scrambling for chairs, so that's a really good problem to have," said Ross.

Despite that it hasn't been easy getting donations, especially with the size of the project. It's expected to cost at least a million dollars to renovate.

Last September, Sugar Love Bakery and Cafe rented space inside the Bonnie Kate. It helped to generate community interest in the project, but in the past few months they've stopped operating.

"It's not that we haven't had good encouragement and support but with this kind of project it just needs to keep happening," said Ross.

The Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation is organizing to raise funds for the restoration.

"That's what's going to make it happen," said Amos Brown, with the foundation. "Is that we have people who are willing to put forth the time and the effort and the money to make this happen."

This year they're hoping to raise $40,000, they've scheduled a fundraiser in September to help them meet that goal.

"We're going to be having the BBQ, Brews and Blues event," said Brown. "That's going to be some local barbecue competition."

They're also holding a 5km run and fun-walk as part of the same event, and all the money raised will go to roof repairs at the Bonnie Kate.

The 'BBQ, Brews and Blues' event will be held on September 23rd from 4-8 p.m and tickets will be around $20.

For more information about the project go to

To donate to the Bonnie Kate restoration go to