The Asheville Community Theatre, (35 E Walnut St) founded in 1946, has two performance spaces – the Mainstage or Heston Auditorium, and the black box performance space 35below. The North Carolina Stage Company presents professional theatre performances Downtown.
The Asheville Lyric Opera performs three fully staged professional operas each season, and Asheville Vaudeville performs new material monthly vaudeville variety show, with local magicians, jugglers, comedians, musicians, stilt-walkers, knife-throwers and others.
The Asheville Arts Center has a theatre, plus a dance and music studio. The Asheville Movement Collective has productions at the Asheville Masonic Temple (80 Broadway St). Small, independent experimental theatre companies perform at the Black Swan Theatre, and the Dark Horse Theatre. Asheville capoeira street performers include the world renowned Mestre Pe de Chumbo, also seen on stage and at festivals.
The Magnetic Theatre offers original works performances, eclectic food, a full bar and live performances. The Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective produces and presents theatre works to raise awareness about issues of social diversity. The Anam Cara Theatre Company, in West Asheville, produces eclectic, avant garde theatre to build community, provoke dialogue, and promote progressive social change.
Alternative performance events include the Asheville Fringe Festival, and the Americana Burlesque and Sideshow Festival. Burlesque and boylesque troupes have included Blue Skies Burlesque, Bombs Away Cabaret, the Bootstraps Burlesque, and the Seduction Sideshow.
Live music plays a big part in the tourism-based economy of the Asheville area. Seasonal festivals, along with the many nightclubs and performance venues, offer visitors and locals a wide variety of live entertainment, incuding street performances and outdoor music festivals.
Shindig on the Green, takes place every Saturday night in July and August at City/County Plaza, "along about sundown," featuring local bluegrass bands, folk dancers on stage, and jam sessions beneath the trees at County Courthouse.
The Mountain Dance & Folk Festival, which began in 1928, is known as the first "Folk Festival." Another popular outdoor music attraction, the Downtown After 5 series of monthly concerts, 5-9 pm at N Lexington Avenue and I-240, showcase popular touring musicians and local acts. The regular drum circle, organized by local Pritchard Park residents, is a popular local public activity, open to all every Friday evening.
The Warren Haynes Christmas Jam annual charity event raises money for Habitat For Humanity, presenting nationally touring acts that have included King Crimson, Bob Dylan, Robert Fripp, Dave Matthews, Ani Difranco, Widespread Panic, Phish and other big names.
The Asheville Symphony Orchestra and the Asheville Lyric Opera, along with bluegrass, country, and traditional mountain musicians are other aspects of the local scene. The Orange Peel is one of the best local venues to see live music acts.