Concurrent with each mainstage production, Burning Coal will present one or more lectures conducted by guest scholars on topics central to the theme of the play being presented. These lectures will be presented at 6:00 pm prior to the play performance and will be free to anyone holding a reservation for any performance of the play (limited seating – availability on first come, first served basis).

Rise of the Puppets

Dec 14, 2013

Lecture by Pamela Shook

Prior to  

(Three Man) Tempest

Burning Coal Theatre Company will hold its second “Lobby Lecture” of the 2013/2014 season, “Rise of the Puppets”, which will feature Pamela Shook of Blue Moon Puppets speaking on “The Rise of Puppetry as a Popular Art Form”, in conjunction with its current production, (Three Man) Tempest by William Shakespeare. The event will take place at 6 pm on Saturday, December 14th, 2013 at Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh. Tickets are $5 or free to anyone holding a ticket to any performance of (Three Man) Tempest and may be obtained at the door only.

(Three Man) Tempest continues its run at Burning Coal Theatre from December 5 – 22, 2013. 

Pamela Shook began her puppetry career with Atlanta’s Piccadilly Puppets in 1988. She found her way into puppetry through children’s theatre, and discovered that through this one magical medium, she could develop all her passions: acting, writing, music and visual arts. For six years she performed with Piccadilly while freelancing with other Atlanta theatres and puppet companies, including the Center for Puppetry Arts. In 1994, while performing with Suzy Ferriss at the Henson International Festival of Puppetry in NYC, she decided to start Blue Moon Puppets with her husband, fellow puppeteer Stephen Clifford.

Blue Moon (named during an actual blue moon)has been touring since 1995, performing multicultural and science-based children’s shows at festivals, libraries, schools and museums. Pamela and Stephen have appeared at venues from Piccolo Spoleto to the Kennedy Center. Pamela has also created custom puppets for theatres, film and video across the Southeast. This year, she wrote, produced, and created puppets for five puppet shows for Discovery Place museum in Charlotte, and helped train their staff to perform these permanent shows.

Musicologist and Author of Violins of Hope

Apr 12, 2014

Lecture by Dr. James A. Grymes

Internationally regarded musicologist Dr. James A. Grymes of Charlotte, NC will speak on Saturday, April 12th at 6 pm about his soon to be published book Violins of Hope.  Tickets are $5 at the door or FREE for anyone holding a ticket to any performance of Burning Coal’s The Diary of Anne Frank (April 3 – 27).  The talk will take place at Burning Coal’s theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC.  For details, please call 919.834.4001.

James A. Grymes is an internationally respected musicologist, a critically acclaimed author, and a dynamic speaker who has addressed audiences at settings ranging from prestigious academic conferences to significant public venues such as Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. Dr. Grymes is Professor of Musicology and Interim Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

A leading authority on the Hungarian musician Ernst von Dohnányi, a forgotten hero of the Holocaust resistance who was later falsely accused of Nazi war crimes, Dr. Grymes is currently writing a book titled Violins of Hope.  A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music, Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust and the Israeli violinmaker dedicated to bringing these inspirational instruments back to life.  Violins of Hope will be published by HarperCollins in August 2014.


Past Productions & Events

The following shows/events have passed.


Global Climate Change Panel Discussion

Sep 21, 2013

Prior to  The Heretic

Burning Coal Theatre Company will hold its first “Lobby Lecture” of the 2013/2014 season, a panel discussion on the subject of global climate change, in conjunction with its current production, The Heretic by Richard Bean. The event will take place at 6 pm on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at Burning Coal Theatre, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh.  Tickets are $5 or free to anyone holding a ticket to any performance of The HereticRead More »

Paul Reid

Jan 31, 2013

Lecture by Paul Reid

Prior to  


After stints in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a worker in a cat-food factory, blue-grass guitarist, cab driver, bartender, and counselor at a home for emotionally disturbed children, Paul Reid and his brother bought a small steam-valve manufacturing business in Newtonville, Mass. In the early 1990s, after selling his share of the company, Reid began writing political commentary for local Massachusetts newspapers, which led to a regular op-ed column at the Boston Globe. As a free-lance writer he covered the Yugoslav civil war, narco-terrorism in Colombia, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.  He graduated from Harvard University Extension School in 1990 with a bachelor of Liberal Arts cum laude.  In 1996 Reid joined The Palm Beach Post, a Cox newspaper, as a features writer.   Read More »

Shakespeare’s Clowns

Dec 8, 2012

Lecture by Ian Finley

Prior to  As You Like It

Ian Finley, current Piedmont Laureate will speak on Shakespeare’s comedies and clowns, from early period bawdy commedia to later, graceful tragicomedies.

Ian Finley is a playwright and director, and the 2012 Piedmont Laureate.  He is the author of several productions, most notably THE NATURE OF THE NAUTILUS (winner of the 2002 Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award), 1960, and most recently a two-part adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s JUDE THE OBSCURE which premiered this past April at Burning Coal.  He has taught at Southern Methodist University, lectured on Shakespeare at NC State, Duke University and dozens of area schools.  In January, he will directed C.P. Taylor’s Good for Burning Coal. 

Conor McPherson’s Place in Irish Dramatic Literature

Nov 10, 2012

Lecture by Karen O'Brien

Prior to  Shining City

Karen O’Brien of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of Dramatic Art speaking on the playwright Conor McPherson’s place in Irish Dramatic Literature. 

Karen O’Brien is assistant professor in Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She frequently presents research on Irish drama at national conferences, and her publications include interdisciplinary articles and reviews on Irish literature, theatre, and culture in a wide range of professional journals and collections. Karen is currently working on her book manuscript, which explores the plays of Irish writers Marina Carr and Conor McPherson. She holds a MFA in Directing from University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and a Ph.D. in Drama from University of California at Irvine.

Musical Theatre: A Unique American Art Form

Sep 15, 2012

Lecture by Lisa Grele Barrie

Prior to  Brigadoon

Lisa Grele Barrie, current President and CEO of the North Carolina Theatre, will conduct this lecture prior to a performance of Burning Coal Theatre Company’s Brigadoon.  

Lisa joined North Carolina Theatre as Development Director in 2003 and has championed a dynamic and successful philanthropic culture within the company in partnership with board and staff. Lisa graduated from Bucknell University and her marketing/communications/development experience includes advertising agencies in Boston, sales for The New Yorker Magazine, marketing at Talbots, heading up her own marketing communications consulting firm and development/communications for Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit. She was promoted to Managing Director in 2008 and hired as President & CEO in 2009 after a nationwide search. Lisa feels grateful to have found her true calling at North Carolina Theatre and takes great pride in engaging the board, staff and the greater Raleigh community in activities that advance the Theatre’s mission and vision. She passionately believes in the role of the performing arts to build community, harness creativity, and reaffirm the power of our collective human spirit.