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New name, new operators: What’s in store for the “Cumming Playhouse” in 2019
FCN Cumming Playhouse 1 010219
The facility known as the Cumming Playhouse has been operated since 2004 in the historic 1923 Cumming Public School. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

The facility known as the Cumming Playhouse will have a new name and new folks running if after the start of the year.

Brian and Kelly Tam, who operate the restaurants Tam’s Backstage and Tam’s Tupelo in Cumming, will take over operations of the playhouse and will operate it as Tam’s School Street Playhouse starting with the new year. Tam’s Backstage has been located at the historic 1923 Cumming Public School for more than a decade, and Brian Tam said the theater and restaurant “go hand-in-hand.”

“The community has embraced the playhouse and the restaurant for over a decade, and we think this will be a seamless transition,” Brian Tam said. “We look forward to their continued support.”

In June, the Tams were approved to operate the playhouse by the Cumming City Council after the city wanted to step away from the obligations and costs of running the facility.

They will pay the city $5,500 each month and be in charge of soliciting shows and cleaning the playhouse and restrooms. The city will still handle utilities, liability insurance and maintenance and repair of the historic building.

“We’ve been very happy with the city of Cumming and the way they operated the playhouse, but if they wanted to stop operating it and turn it over to a private entity, we thought we would be the ones most suitable to take it over,” Tam said. “We are highly motivated to keep shows running through the playhouse with the restaurant being in the lower level.”

The first show of the year will be Banks and Shane, who have two shows on Saturday, Jan 12 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Starting the weekend of Thursday, Jan. 31-Sunday, Feb. 3 and continuing the next three weekends, the playhouse will host its first production under new management: “A Southern Exposure.”

“Since we finalized the lease… we started booking shows for 2019,” Tam said. “We have a pretty full schedule already with a lot of contacts with different producers.”

Tam said the playhouse will host a variety of productions including concerts, plays, musicals and more.

There is also a new site to check out upcoming shows and buy tickets, SchoolStreetPlayhouse.com. Tickets will still be sold at the box office.