Love a good mystery? Wish to catch the culprit of a caper? Look no further than the Sampson Arts Council’s sixth annual interactive mystery dinner theatre fundraiser to be held Saturday, Feb. 22.
Called “Lights, Camera, Murder,” this year’s event invites locals to the Gimme Awards, held at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center in Heritage Hall, where there will be not only glitz and glamour but also a mystery going on.
“It’s a comedy ‘who-done-it,’” shared Kara Donatelli, executive director of the local Arts Council, noting that this year the environment created will be something akin to the Academy Awards. “We’ll have a red carpet and paparazzi; it will be that kind of atmosphere. You don’t have to but we’re encouraging people to dress up because we’re going to give prizes for the best costumes, male and female.”
The event kicks off at 6 p.m. with a meet and greet, where fundraiser attendees will have the opportunity to socialize with the evening’s cast of characters, portrayed by actors with the “It’s a Mystery” theater troupe from the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.
“The meet and greet is important because you can start getting some clues there,” Donatelli pointed out, explaining that it’s a time when locals can interact with the characters one-on-one and even search for clues by asking the characters questions.
Once everyone walks the red carpet, the performance and dinner will start at 6:45 p.m. While attendees enjoy a meal — one that is set to include hand carved roast beef and southern shrimp and grits — provided by Evans Catering, they will be entertained by characters like actresses Regretta Nuthin and Holly Woods, cinematographer Vidi O’Taper, and show business veteran and storyteller Gabby Lott.
“Everybody’s guessing,” said Donatelli, recalling the fun had in years past as event attendees listened closely to the characters’ stories and conversations, hoping overhear a clue to the evening’s mystery. “At the end, you write down who you think did it and the motive. They put all the slips of paper in a hat and pull them out until they reach the first one that’s right…The winning table wins a prize.”
“This is something that we’ve done for a few years now,” Dontelli added. “We like to offer it because people really seem to enjoy it. I think people just really love a mystery. It’s something different that they’re probably not used to doing.”
And time is running out for participation in this year’s fundraiser as reservations are required for the event and need to made by this Friday, Feb. 14.
“There’s 200 seats and we’ve sold about half so far. We would love to sell all 200,” said Donatelli, noting that the funds raised from the event go towards future art programming.
“Of course, you’re supporting the arts council with the purchase of a ticket,” Donatelli continued, “and it’s a lot of fun. It’s something different and is always a good laugh; it’s a good time. A lot of people get their friends together and get a table so it can be a night out with friends. It could also be a Valentine’s Day present.”
Tickets for fundraiser at $50 per person for arts council members and $60 per person for non-members. For tickets or more information, please call the Sampson Arts Council, located in the Victor R. Small House at 709 College St., Clinton, at 910-596-2533.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.