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Owner still hoping to reopen Capitol as a venue for live music shows

Erwin Record Photo • The Capitol Theatre in downtown Erwin got a new lease on life when Robert Fury purchased the venue in 2021. Fury says he has encounter some setbacks but is still determined to open the historic structure as a venue for live music performances.

By Ty Butler

After buying the Capitol Theatre in downtown Erwin, owner Robert Fury has experienced a few bumps in the road while working toward reopening the Capitol as a venue for live music performances.

“We’ve had some trials and tribulations with understanding the laws,” Fury said.

“The city has gone through a series of inspectors,” Fury said. “There’s a steep learning curve for me, but I can report we are making definite progress on the groundwork that’s got to be done. I thank Mayor Glenn White and Jamie (Rice) at City Hall.”

The Capitol Theatre, once dedicated to showing the latest cinematic offerings, is transitioning to a live music auditorium. Fury said that he believes that dream will eventually come to fruition thanks to external support.

“I also thank Craig Young at Prosim Engineering for helping us get engineering to repair the roof structure at The Capitol,” said Fury. 

“I couldn’t do this project if it wasn’t for the local business community, the helpful citizens and local government,” he added. 

“Erwin is a special place,” Fury noted. “It deserves more places to congregate and celebrate and enjoy, and our team is going to work as hard as possible to bring this about.”

The theatre owner also recognized Mayor Glenn White’s work to advance efforts to reopen the Capitol.

“I appreciate the mayor because he and City Hall realized they had gone through these series of inspectors and it had caused problems,” said Fury.

The venue still needs seating, electrical work, plumbing care, a sprinkler system and new bathrooms. Fury said he has since reclaimed a construction company to oversee the project, which he believes is a path to move forward.

“We already have a concrete idea on what we want to do with the first phase and the locals are going to like it,” Fury said.

Fury mentioned that numerous community members have offered free labor, but the work cannot be done in part due to the issue of liability. Ultimately, the next step begins and ends with the ability to contract a licensed architect; however, Fury noted that all of the architects in the area have been booked, which could add another year before the project can even begin moving forward.

“This is a huge project and I need help from the community to make this a reality,” he stated. “Right now, I really need an architect to help with the first phase.”

When asked about the possibility of a fund, Fury claimed that he was not seeking help from citizen pockets.

“I’m hesitant to take government money to help me because it comes from the citizens,” Fury explained. “The citizens shouldn’t have to give me their money to do my project so that I can make a profit. I don’t think that is fair, so I’ve avoided that.”

Despite the aforementioned hindrances, the venue owner is looking to move forward. Fury has implemented some cosmetic changes, including a vibrant new paint job on the storefront and updating the marquee with regular inspirational messages.