Beckley art community ready to bounce back after Raleigh Playhouse closure

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – On Tuesday, a press release sent out by the Bickey Companies who own the Raleigh Playhouse, Sir Walter’s Tavern and Melody’s said that all three places will close effective immediately. According to Shane Pierce, the theatre’s head of operations, the closure was a surprise, but they remain grateful to the Bickey family for their continued support over the past seven years. 

“There’s been a lot of memories made there over these last seven years, and I’ve just seen how much it’s meant to the people who come in there and we’re able to share in the arts and the theatre and the music and the films and the community events that we had,” Pierce said. “I saw the connection that it had to people in the community and I just want to say thank you everybody who came out to support the place and shared their time and shared their experiences with us.”

Although the doors of three Beckley businesses are now closed, the city and the arts community are looking to the future to figure out ways to possibly keep it going. This was brought up at Tuesday night’s council meeting. 

“We need to look at some state funding, some grants maybe some local foundation grants,” Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold said. “Long story short I think Matt Bickey’s press release was very well-stated and it was really just a matter of subsidizing Melody’s and Sir Walter’s.” 

Those involved with the local art scene say the news about the closure was disappointing but that now more than ever is a time for artists and supporters to come together. 

“It’s always sad to see an organization, an arts organization close here in town, but if there’s one thing that’s always stood true, it’s that Beckley artists are really resilient and will band together and overcome any obstacle,” Robby Moore, with the Beckley Arts Center, said. 

According to the press release, the businesses had to close because the company could no longer afford to keep them open.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com