Browncoat Theatre is the vision of producer and artistic director Richard Davis. Under his
stewardship, the Browncoat Pub & Theatre has become a haven, a home and a headache for artists
and artistically minded people in the southeastern North Carolina region. With limited resources and
a skeleton staff of overworked volunteers giving all that they have and more, the Browncoat can offer
little more than an empty sandbox to the desperate artists who come to its doorstep. Its bohemian
atmosphere and laissez-faire approach has smashed more than a few dreamers who quickly found
themselves unprepared to master their dreams once they were given the opportunity to birth them.
But for the few who have possessed the vision, the passion and the work ethic to take full advantage
of the potential only freedom and opportunity can offer, the Browncoat has proven an unshakable
foundation upon which anything can be possible.
Browncoat Theatre is a registered non-profit organization in the state of North Carolina. Its mission
is to support the efforts of emerging artists by providing them with a space and an opportunity to
publicly produce their works. The company actively seeks out new writers, directors, filmmakers,
designers, actors and technicians to pursue this mission. More than 60 full length theatrical
productions have been staged on the Browncoat’s surprisingly flexible 16x16 stage; many of them
original works by emerging artists such as Tony Moore, Dr. Lou Buttino, John Grudzien, Marlowe
Moore, Chris Bowen, Steve Caverno and Justin Cioppa.
When the Browncoat does produce known plays, the company most often chooses plays by obscure
playwrights or provides unique spins and interpretations of classic plays. For example, in recent
years Browncoat Theatre has staged productions by Naomi Izuka, Neil LaBute, Jeff Goode and Eric
Bogosian alongside unique Shakespearean productions presenting Romeo & Juliet as a lesbian
couple battling discrimination, Hamlet as a tortured villain abandoned in an asylum and Dangerous
Liaisons as a modern reality television show. Productions at the Browncoat regularly bring the
worlds of film and theater together; most notably their original adaptation of George A. Romero’s
Night of the Living Dead which began as a film only to blossom into a play right before the audience’
Producer Davis brought together the team that would become the Browncoat’s wildly successful
sketch comedy troupe Pineapple Shaped Lamps. PSL now stages a weekly comic variety show
called TNL and monthly shadow cast productions of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The
Pineapples have also written their own original musical and adapted Cannibal the Musical and Dr.
Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog for the stage. PSL recently completed their first tour with performances at
more than a dozen conventions and comedy clubs.
Together with accomplished playwright Tony Moore, Davis co-created the sitcom SIDES. Staged
before a live audience, SIDES, ran 50+ episodes spanning several seasons. Originally conceived as
a small scale half hour sitcom, SIDES soon took on a life of its own. The incredibly popular show
soon boasted a cast of around two dozen actors and a staff of writers including Moor, Chris Bowen,
Hank Toler and others.
Davis insists that Browncoat Theatre frequently collaborate with talented artists from outside the
world of theater. Comedians from the Justice League of Comedy and Ovary-Action got their starts at
the Browncoat. Filmmakers such as Joshua Lowery, Kathy Sue Holtorf, Angela Kennedy and more
have shot films at the Browncoat. Dozens of others have screened their films here for free. Master
Hypnotist Gary Conrad, Basile the Comedian and The Found Footage Film Festival have passed
through the Browncoat’s doors. The Cape Fear Independent Film Festival, The Cape Fear Comedy
Festival and Visions film festival regularly call it home.
Innovation and creativity are key elements to Browncoat productions; as is the self motivation and
commitment to get the job done on one’s own without a safety net. Those accustomed to more main
stream theaters and structured methodologies find it difficult to tread water with the company. The
hungry few who choose to blaze their own trails, create new paradigms and develop new ways of
doing things often flourish without the rules and burdens that often come with traditional theaters.
With the Browncoat, Richard Davis has built a sandbox and he invites anyone and everyone to come
play. What they build there is completely up to them.