September 13 2017



Susan Habas

Thalian Association Community Theatre


A Place for the Performing Arts at Port City Escape: Thalian Association Community Theatre and Local Business form Collaboration for Innovation.

WILMINGTON, NC – After 25 years of outsourcing set design services, Thalian Association Community Theatre (Thalian Association) has partnered with Port City Escape to provide the ideal space for creativity to come to life.  Thalian Association staff and volunteers are utilizing a secure building located on Port City Escape’s property owned by Dr. Doug and Kris Testori.  There they will build many of the Official Community Theatre of North Carolina 2017-2018 main stage and youth theatre sets.

“Most local theatre companies struggle with finding a dedicated space to craft the sets and backdrops that bring a story to life,” stated Susan Habas, Executive Director for Thalian Association. “The Testori’s and the staff at Port City Escape continue to be amazing community partners for the benefit of theatre goers in the Cape Fear area.”

The first set to be built in the new space is for Hairspray, the opening show of Thalian Association’s youth theatre season. Construction on the Main Stage Thalian Hall holiday show A Christmas Story: the Musical is slated to begin soon.

“The decision to bring back managing the entire set design process allows our team of theatre professionals to return to our true community days of the past,” says Lance Howell, Technical Advisor for Thalian Association. “I now have a space to help educate and train the set designers of the future, ensure that the visual vision of our plays remains authentic, and reduce spending for this important non-profit entity.”

Port City Escape, an immersive adventure venue, opened its doors to the public a little over a year ago. When the Testori’s purchased the building that now houses its escape rooms, the property parcel included a second building that until now has not been fully utilized.

“When Susan presented us the opportunity to assist Thalian Association with their set design needs, both Doug and I could not think of a better use for our warehouse,” says Kris Testori. “Several of our seasonal employees have benefited from time spent performing and producing community theater. Our business prides itself on a truly unique escape room experience and is proud to assist these talented individuals in their creative efforts.”

Established in 1788, Thalian Association Community Theatre is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to enhancing the Cape Fear region through live community theatre and arts education. Thalian Association Community Theatre produces five major productions annually on the Main Stage at historic Thalian Hall and five youth theatre productions on the 2nd Street Stage in the Community Arts Center. The youth theatre program offers training and performance opportunities for children age seven through high school seniors. In 2007, Thalian Association Community Theatre was designated North Carolina’s Official Community Theater by the state legislature. For more information, go to

Port City Escape is a family owned and operated escape room providing participants with a handcrafted, interactive experience. Team members must work together to reveal clues, solve riddles, and crack codes before the clock runs out. Within each room, all of the props, as well as the room décor and sound effects come together to create a fully immersive experience. More information can be found by visiting


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