About the Theatre:

About the Company

Established 1997

Burning Coal’s mission is to produce literate, visceral, affecting theatre that is experienced, not simply seen.

We emphasize works that are experienced viscerally, unlike more traditional, linear plays where audiences are most often asked to observe without participating. Using the best local, national and international artists available, we produce explosive re-examinations of overlooked classics, modern classic and new plays that address ideas important to our community. With this in mind, we strive to achieve high-energy performances with minimalist production values.

Burning Coal was founded by Artistic Director Jerome Davis and Managing Director Simmie Kastner. It began as an itinerant company, performing in spaces across the Raleigh area. In 2008, Burning Coal finished the renovation of the historic Murphey School Auditorium in downtown Raleigh.

We work with a mixture of AEA and non-Equity actors.  We have a loose company, but cast regularly beyond the company. We believe in paying all our artists. The same applies to union and non-union designers, technicians and stage managers.

Race and gender non-specific casting is an integral component of our perspective, as well as an international viewpoint. Learn more about auditioning for Burning Coal here.

Artistic Director, Jerome M. Davis

  • Jerry founded Burning Coal Theatre in 1995 with his wife, Simmie Kastner.  They moved to Raleigh in 1996 and did their first production here in 1997.  Since then, Jerry and Simmie have grown the company from a $30,000 annual budget to a budget of approximately $600,000, moved the company into the historic Murphey School auditorium, which was renovated in 2008 after a fundraising campaign that raised more than $1.5 million, and managed to get through its first 25 years entirely debt free.  Burning Coal has also performed in New York City, London, England, at the Piccolo Spoletto Festival, in Cleveland, Ohio and at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC.
  • Contact for rental inquiries, London / NYC tours, and education programs.

Development Director, Abbe Fralix

  • Abbe began working with Burning Coal as a performer in 2015, and has appeared in multiple Burning Coal productions including Sunday in the Park with George, Evita, and The Road to Mecca. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from William Peace University and an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. In addition to her current role as Development Director, Abbe is active in the Triangle theatre community as a performer, educator, and dramaturg.
  • Contact for partnerships, donations,  subscriber reservations, accessibility requests, and press inquiries.

Company Manager, Gabby Simone

  • Contact for box office, volunteering, new works, and general inquiries and feedback.

Technical Director / Facilities Manager, Barry Jaked 

  • Barry started working with Burning Coal in 2012 as the Technical Director for Jude the Obscure  and continued in this roll through 2017 when he took a position as the Technical Director for Aberdeen Community Theatre in Aberdeen, SD. In November of 2019 he returned to the Raleigh area and Burning Coal as the Master Electrician. Once the pause for Covid was over he resumed his roll as the Master Electrician. In August 2023, he was hired by Burning Coal as the Resident Technical Director and Master Electrician.

Burning Coal is an intimate professional theatre company and an incorporated, non-profit [501 (c) (3)] organization. Our EIN is 56-1910148, and our official tax name is Davner Theatricals, Inc. dba Burning Coal Theatre Co.

Burning Coal is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the national organization of non-profit professional theatres and the North Carolina Theatre Conference, a state-wide consortium of theatres of all sizes and types.

Burning Coal Theatre Company is supported by the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

Burning Coal Theatre is funded in part by the city of Raleigh based on recommendations of the Raleigh Arts Commission.

From the New Testament, Romans 12:20: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals upon his head.”

We are interested in the idea of affecting change through good works. We also like the metaphor and imagery that ‘burning coal’ suggest: gritty, yet warm; hard work; forward movement.

Our 25+ year history was documented by Sabrina Tian and Christina Polge. It is broken up into 4 Parts.

Click on the links below to explore the archive.

RETROSPECTIVE OF PLAYS, Part 1: 1997 – 2003

RETROSPECTIVE OF PLAYS, Part 2: 2003 – 2009

RETROSPECTIVE OF PLAYS, Part 3: 2009 – 2015

RETROSPECTIVE OF PLAYS, Part 4: 2016 – 2021