Cherry Orchard Theatre


Outdoor theatre is a tradition in our part of the world. Over the years North Carolina has boasted more outdoor theatre productions than any state in the country, ranging from famous ones like “The Lost Colony” and “Unto These Hills” to lesser known productions that are often of good quality.

Though we are in Virginia, we are only eight miles distant from this “mother” state of outdoor theatre. Inspired by the tradition in North Carolina — and by the 55-mile view of mountains and valleys from our cherry orchard outdoor ampitheatre site — since 1999 we have been offering a wide variety of theater experiences at The Cherry Orchard Theatre. Here we have performed dozens of plays, had numerous concerts and storytelling gatherings, and played host to some of the leading theatrical and musical talent in our region. Over the years many thousands of people have come, bearing lawn chairs and perhaps a picnic supper and a bottle of wine — no restrictions there! — to watch performances and to enjoy the coolness of the Blue Ridge Mountain evening and the spectacular view behind the stage.

Showtime is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. And please note — ALL SUNDAY EVENING SHOWS WILL BE PERFORMED AT THE ORCHARD PACKHOUSE, making it easier for physically challenged patrons to be seated. Rain or shine, the show must go on — if it’s raining we move to our packhouse, a friendly confine for theatre that smells like the peaches we are selling there during theater season! Tickets are $10 and purchased at the door — reservations are accepted but not required, there is plenty of elbow room. Bring lawn chairs, food, and something to drink — then sit back on the cool grass, and enjoy the show!

2023 marks our 25th season at Cherry Orchard Theatre, and we are celebrating this milestone with eight weekends — count ’em, eight weekends! — at our spectacularly beautiful Cherry Orchard Theatre stage. Check the website in July and August for updates. But for now, our 2023 season features eight weekends at our Cherry Orchard Theatre stage. All shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. No reservations required. For more info, call 276-755-3593 or 276-755-2224. We look forward to seeing you!

Summer 2024 Schedule



Over 25 years at Cherry Orchard Theatre, we’ve often combined local storytelling and poetry with live music, a winning combination. This year, once again, we offer poetry by local poets Karen Johnson, Terri Bowman, Millie Hiatt, Frank Levering, and others, along with stories by Terri Ingalls, Terri Bowman, Millie Hiatt, Frank George, Dan Hornak, Misty Hagwood and more. We’ve had many musicians perform here over the years, and this year anticipate appearances by Stu Shenk, Ed Dalton and more, with others to be determined. Always a marvelous evening.

On Saturday, August 3 we’ll be featuring the poetry and stories of the Ridgeline Writers Group, a shining constellation of talented regional poets and storytellers who meet regularly to nurture and fortify each other’s work. The Ridgeline group brings exceptional talent from across the region, and we thank Karen Johnson of nearby Lambsburg, Virginia, and her fellow writers for this special evening.

If you are in attendance and have a poem or story you would like to share, we welcome you to the theater stage on August 2 and 4 as well!!


Here’s an evening any fans of classic show tunes will want a front row seat for — Jennifer Johnson-Brown’s one-woman show of evergreen Broadway and Disney songs, timeless classics from “The King & I,” “Hello Dolly,” “The Great Showman,” “The Little Mermaid” and many more. Along with the songs come stories to match, making for an evening not only of gorgeous music but a learning experience for all who attend — a great opportunity not only for adults but for children who may never have been exposed to this classic American experience. If you’ve never heard Mount Airy resident Jennifer Johnson-Brown perform, you’ve missed something big — she’s a big time musical talent! Jennifer writes: “Follow the glowing balloons to our enchanting outdoor venue and immerse yourself in Jennifer’s celebratory journey….Spread the word, gather your loved ones, and let’s make memories together.”


Call 276-755-2224 or email Frank at for information as these dates approach.


Join us for an enlightening and brilliantly entertaining journey into the African-American experience in this region, often performed in other venues and received with gratitude and delight by audiences who have experienced it. One night only!

AUGUST 23, 24, 25 — THE PORCH

Something we love to do — offer a premiere show, never before seen anywhere, that like a lightning rod draws down a lightning strike of local talent! If you think this is hyperbole, you missed Millie Hiatt’s show here last year, also a premiere, which was later performed to an inspired and appreciative audience at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. That show, directed by Terri Ingalls, made us wonder why the multi-talented Millie had never performed here before. Now she’s back with a brand new piece. We not only expect you to be here — we’ll send the sheriff after you if you aren’t!

Step onto The Porch, a captivating one-woman show where stories and poetry intertwine to paint a vivid picture of growing up in a rural community. Immerse yourself in the warmth and nostalgia of small-town life as one woman shares heartfelt tales of pain, growth, laughter, love, and life’s simple pleasures. Experience the charm and authenticity of rural America through the eyes of a storyteller whose words will linger long afterwards. Join us on The Porch for an unforgettable journey through the eyes of local poet and storyteller, Millie Hiatt.


(We may extend the show to Labor Day evening, September 2)

In 1982, Frank Levering, your host at the Cherry Orchard Theatre, was 29 years old when a horror film he co-wrote was released by Embassy Pictures in Los Angeles. The film was called “Parasite in 3-D,” and, starring a young actress named Demi Moore, it rocked the film world, was headlined in editions of “Variety” and “The Hollywood Reporter,” and for a month was number two in box office receipts in New York City, trailing only “Chariots of Fire.” Dismissed by most (if not all) film critics, “Parasite,” “People” magazine wrote in an article featuring Frank and his two co-writers, “is a movie only the audiences love.” In a scholarly book on cult horror films from the 1980s recently published, entitled “It Came from the 80’s!”, “Parasite” is featured prominently, and a still from the movie appears on the cover, a young Demi Moore looking down at the blood-splattered shirt of her companion, a parasitologist named Dr. Paul Dean.

Fast forward 42 years. An aging man who once wrote a hit horror film while living in Los Angeles lives alone in a remote rural region in America. “The Sticks.” One evening as darkness falls there is a knock on his door, and the woman his age who stands in the doorway looks just a touch familiar. Thus begins “The Horror,” Frank’s 26th play and one that has never been more personal. Starring Cherry Orchard Theatre stalwarts Terri Ingalls and Patrick Butler, a chilling tale unfolds.

The theater will darken during the course of the play. Dare you join us?



Admission is only ten dollars. Bring a lawn chair and anything you would like to eat or drink.

For more information starting in July-, and any questions you may have, please call 276-755-3593. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can call the packhouse number — 276-755-3593 — and speak with Frank Levering.You can also often speak with Frank at 276-755-4722 (cell phone reception permitting), or email him at

We’ll see you on the mountain!

— Frank Levering

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