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This Day in NC History: Thalian Hall opens

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On October 12, 1858, Thalian Hall in Wilmington opened with a gala celebration. Long a cultural and political center of Wilmington, Thalian Hall’s origins lie in the Thalian Association, a theatrical company organized in 1788 that took its name from Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy.

When the old theater facility began to garner negative attention from traveling troupes, Wilmington town fathers decided to construct a new facility, which would serve as a theater, library and city civic center. Over the years, it has been referred to as Thalian Hall, the Wilmington Opera House and the Wilmington Academy of Music. Thalian Hall survived the Great Depression, receiving a $50,000 Works Progress Administration Grant for renovations and performances.

After the Second World War, a new series of renovations took place, followed in 1973 by a period of rebuilding after a catastrophic fire. The most recent restoration occurred in 1990.

Today, Thalian Hall continues to serve Wilmington in the capacity originally intended in 1858—hosting theatrical events and housing city offices.

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