Local theatre hosts haunted house to help recover from Coronavirus shut down

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – A downtown Conway staple is hosting a haunted house after the Coronavirus shut down.

Theatre of the Republic has been part of the Conway community for more than 50 years, but had its last show on March 15th. The theatre hasn’t put on a typical show since the pandemic began, but opened its doors this week for a haunted house.

“This haunted house that we’re doing in here right now is basically a walk-through,” Tim McGhee said. “It’s not a show. It’s a walk-through like an amusement park haunted house. It’s a way to keep the theatre alive during the pandemic.”

McGhee tells News13, they were supposed to be performing ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ this week, but the cost of production is too high for limited crowds.

“Our seating capacity is normally 300 and due to the COVID-19 and all the restrictions, we’re at about 90-100 seats, because of the expense of production, it’s very hard to produce enough funds to produce a show.”

He says while the pandemic has been a challenge, they hope the haunted house can both bring in money and remind people the Theatre of the Republic is still there.

“A bad show can stop a theatre. Lack of attendance can stop a theatre, but not something like this so it’s been something very difficult to work with because every time you think you make a plan, something hits you in the wall or something comes up with COVID-19.”

“The Haunted House will be nice. It will help with some of the bills and the monthly expenses that we can’t get rid of, but more than anything, we just want to make people know that we’re still here and the Theatre of the Republic will still be here after COVID-19.”

McGhee says in the coming weeks, the theatre will be hosting shows in outdoor venues including one on Laurel Street in Conway and at the Lakewood Campgrounds.

“Usually when you do something inside your home, you’re more secure and then when you go outside, there are more things you have to learn,” he explained. “We’re excited about it, but we’re trying everything to keep the theatre alive and keep the finds coming in without constantly saying, “please give, give, give.””

To keep the haunted house safe everyone wears a mask, there are hand sanitizing stations and social distancing is maintained starting at the line outside.

The haunted house is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7 to 11 P.M. with special family-friendly hours from 7 to 8 P.M.

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