by Jonathan Scott |  Photography by Diana Matthews


ITheater-6t’s easy for Joy Ennis to slip into personification when she talks about The Cary.

“The theater is very happy being a theater again,” she says.

Ennis, operations and program manager of The Cary, has been in her position since February 2014, when the building at 122 East Chatham Street in downtown Cary reopened as a performance venue for the first time in more than 50 years.

When the Town of Cary bought the property in 2011, it had lain vacant for years. The building has housed a clothing store, a recording studio and an auto parts store.

“You couldn’t even tell it had ever been a theater,” Ennis says.

But it had. Paul Chandler built the theater in 1946 to be just that. For nearly 15 years, The Cary hosted live performances and films.

Now, thanks to the Town of Cary’s Downtown Development Program, the building has come full circle. The lights are back on every Thursday through Sunday night, with 200 annual films, 24 singer-songwriter performances and 12 live comedy acts.

The marquee has been designed to resemble the original art deco look, but, inside, the addition of an elevator and wheelchair-accommodating seating have given the theater a new level of accessibility.

“Our goal,” says Ennis, “is to be opportunity driven and community based. It’s a real privilege to be a part of it.”

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