Chapel Hill’s Town Council established a task force in late October to consider the possibility of the Varsity Theatre becoming a community performing art space.

The task force, made up of local business owners, members of the local arts community and town council members Rachel Schaevitz and Michael Parker, will report back in six months after considering community feedback and the project’s feasibility.

The current tenant and operators of the theater, Paul and Susan Shareshian, will sit on the task force. In a Facebook post on the theater’s page, the Shareshians responded to “rumors” regarding the theater’s future, saying they wanted to “set the record straight” that the Varsity Theatre is not for sale.

“While we are in agreement with the town’s initiative to have a public performing arts space, we think we have already established the Varsity Theatre to do just that,” the October 28 post reads. “I welcome the opportunity to serve on the task force, which Councilman Michael Parker invited to me to join, to provide further education on what the Varsity Theatre is currently doing.”


There have been several rumors circulating regarding the Chapel Hill Town Council vote to assemble a task force to…

Posted by Varsity Theatre on Sunday, October 28, 2018


Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger spoke about the task force on WCHL’s the Aaron Keck show last week.

“We need to know from our side, from a community side, whether that’s something we want to spend our energy doing,” she said. “So we will investigate that for six months and figure out fit here are other models out there that look good for us out there and if it’s an interest or if there’s some other thing that might be better.”

Town officials hope the project could attract more people downtown, and revitalize the East End of Franklin Street. Hemminger said the town takes its time on these kinds of things, gathering many different perspectives in hopes to get it right.