We caught up with the Carolina Theatre’s newest staff member, Membership & Development Manager, Abigaile Bates, and learned about her love for Durham and anything related to the arts.
CTD: Can you share a little more about yourself and what brought you to Durham?
AB: I grew up in Burlington/Mebane with my family of Yankees who are from western New York. I was the first person in my family to attend college, and I graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Arts Administration. Upon graduation, I moved to Raleigh, where my boyfriend and I lived for 3 years. We didn’t feel that Raleigh was the right fit for us and our lifestyle, so we spent more time in surrounding cities. We fell in love with Durham’s culture, vibe, and restaurant scene. In 2021, we bought our first home in Durham, and we absolutely love living in the Bull City.
CTD: What inspires you about the arts?
AB: As a kid, I was always most comfortable when I was lost in music or a musical/play. By the time I got to college, I was taking acting, ballet, voice, and painting/drawing courses. I am captivated by all the different ways that others and we are able to express ourselves, and I’m always interested to know more about each subject. The freedom of individuality, of expression, of fearlessness inspires me.
CTD: Have you always had a passion for theater?
AB: Always. The first musical I ever watched was “Grease” with my grandmother. I belted out “Hopelessly Devoted to You” for weeks. Singing, dancing, and performing was all I ever wanted to do after that. As I’ve grown up, my passion has become much less about being center stage and more about being an advocate and champion for the survival and evolution of the arts. However, I can often be found belting out Streisand in my kitchen while making dinner.
CTD: What appealed to you about joining the Carolina Theatre?
AB: For the past two years I was the Corporate Partnerships Manager for DPAC. I’ve been able to make amazing connections, learn more about our city, and connect with the arts in a different way. My transition to the Carolina Theatre is extremely exciting. Not only have I always wanted to transition into the nonprofit sector, but I’m enamored with the rich history of the Carolina Theatre. The icing on the cake is that the team is wonderful and has been incredibly inviting.
CTD: Who would you like to see on the Carolina Theatre stage? Any favorite performers from past years?
AB: I would love to see more comedians and drag shows at the theater! I recently saw Rory Scovel, and that was an awesome show. I’ve also really enjoyed the Miyazaki film series currently showing in the cinemas.
CTD: Can you tell us about some of your other interests and hobbies?
AB: My favorite thing to do is travel, especially when my husband and I get to bring our dog. We take yearly trips to the Smoky Mountains and always try to find time to enjoy the Carolina beaches. Last year, we spent our honeymoon in Colorado exploring the mountains and climbing St. Mary’s Glacier.
CTD: What is one of your favorite, not-to-be-missed North Carolina weekend experiences?
AB: One of my favorite things to do while in the Smoky Mountains is ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, especially in Autumn. The scenery, the weather, and the open-air car on the train are amazing!