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The Rocky Hock Playhouse doors opened in Edenton, North Carolina in 2000. However, the theatre's roots go back to 1997. In the summer of that year Jeffrey and Gloria Emmerich were invited to Nags Head, NC to put together a summer stock pilot theatre. They ended up taking nearly 40 students to North Carolina’s Outer Banks from North Central University in Minneapolis, MN where they were professors of theatre, music, and communications. In Nags Head the cast performed such musicals as Under His Wings, The Fantasticks, and Anne of Green Gables.  
 

The Emmerichs worked out of a temporary theatre on the Outer Banks again during the summer of 1998 but it was soon apparent that they needed to find a more permanent location. It was their desire to stay in the general area since the location was good. Patrons were coming regularly from the Hampton Roads area, (Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, Hampton, VA, etc.), as well as from as far away as Richmond, VA (near Washington D.C.), Raleigh and Greenville, NC, and Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC. They began phoning county government offices in various small towns across NE North Carolina to get an idea of who might be interested in helping them move the theatre operation to their community. It seemed that everywhere they called people were saying, “Go to Edenton!”
 

While visiting Edenton, which is on the Albemarle Sound in Chowan County and about 60 miles due west of Kitty Hawk, NC, the Emmerichs arranged to meet with various government officials, assistants, school principals, Edenton and Chowan County Chamber of Commerce representatives, and local leaders. The reception was overwhelmingly positive. It turned out that many people from Chowan County had been to the Outer Banks to see Under His Wings and were thrilled that a theatrical production company might actually be willing to fill the void in a community primed for a full time stock company theatre.

At this stage the proverbial “writing was on the wall.” Jeff and Gloria felt confident that things were falling into place so that they could fulfill a 25 year vision and dream to own and operate a full time Christian theatre of their own. The Rocky Hock Playhouse was established in 1998 and the operation was moved to Edenton for the summer of 1999.

During the three months of summer (1999) the Emmerichs again produced Under His Wings (the Love Story of Ruth and Boaz) and Gloria Emmerich’s first full length “Broadway Style” Christian musical, King David (Sweet Psalmist of Israel). Over 10,000 patrons enjoyed performances that summer at the White Oak Theatre — a temporary location provided by Chowan County for performances.

During this period Jeff and Gloria Emmerich were still teaching at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. But, their pioneer spirits won out and they resigned from the University in the spring of 2000 and moved to Edenton permanently to begin operating the Rocky Hock Playhouse on a full time basis.

Since the move to Edenton, the Emmerichs have mounted over 70 major productions at the Playhouse. Gloria Emmerich is the writer of nearly all the musicals. Her two-act “Broadway Style” musicals have been performed around the world and are available through Emmerich Publications, Inc., based in Minneapolis, MN. (www.christianmusicalsonline.com)

Over 300,000 patrons have enjoyed Rocky Hock Playhouse musicals. In 2009 the theatre relocated to Washington, NC for three years before returning to Edenton in 2012. Scores of fine Christian actors from 31 different states have worked in RHP productions in NE North Carolina over the past 14 years. Many college students and local talent have performed with the Rocky Hock Playhouse under the Emmerich’s supervision. Jeffrey and Gloria also perform in all the musicals.

With only a handful of full time Christian theatres in the United States, Jeffrey and Gloria are keenly aware of the responsibility they have to continue giving Christian actors and singers an opportunity to work in a wholesome theatre atmosphere. In the years since the theatre opened the Emmerichs have taken their musicals to US military bases in Germany, to venues in St. Croix (US Virgin Islands), and many times to Puerto Rico.

Over the years the Rocky Hock Playhouse has succeeded in maintaining the reputation of being unique, wholesome, and family oriented.

 

Gloria Emmerich is the Rocky Hock Playhouse resident musical director, playwright, lyricist, composer and arranger. She and her husband Jeffrey own and operate the Playhouse which is located in Edenton (NE North Carolina). It is one of only a few full time Christian theatres on the East Coast of the United States. Gloria was born and raised in Newport, Oregon. She has written over 70 full length musicals that have been performed at the Playhouse and around the world. Major works include King David, Simon Peter [Fisher of Men], Noah’s Incredible Cruise, Paul [Fearless Lion of God], Out of the Darkness, Heaven Came Down, Jacob, Prince of God, and The Road to Calvary. Gloria earned both a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from San Diego State University. She has starred in dozens of musicals and in the early 1990s served as accompanist and musical director for several young artists’ theatre companies in San Diego, California. Gloria was professor of theatre and music at North Central University in Minneapolis for seven years before moving to Edenton in May of 2000 to help found the Rocky Hock Playhouse. Gloria and her husband Jeffrey have been married more than 40 years and have two adult children. Their daughter Holly often appears in RHP productions and recently earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from ECSU in Elizabeth City, NC. She is also a full-time missionary to Cameroon as of October 2013. Son Ben, and his wife Angie, have two children, Alex and Olivia. Ben and Angie have been deeply involved in the growth and success of the theatre since 1997. Jeffrey and Gloria were married in 1971. They perform about 150 times per year in their theatre and regularly across the US, in Europe, and throughout the Caribbean.
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Jeffrey Emmerich is co-owner and artistic director at the Rocky Hock Playhouse in Edenton, NC. He was born in Bend, Oregon and grew up on a cattle ranch in the high desert just east of the beautiful Cascade Mountains. He earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University. He has had leading roles in dozens of musicals and has directed over 150 major works including one Canadian premiere and over 70 American premiere productions. Jeffrey was a full professor and head of the theatre department at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 1993 to 2000. He is currently the drama director and an instructor at College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City, NC. Over the past 40 years Jeffrey and his wife Gloria have worked as evangelists, staff pastors at a local church, professors, and have ministered through music and drama in nearly every state in the US (including Hawaii and Alaska), Canada, Australia, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Israel, Great Britain, New Zealand, Fiji, and throughout the Caribbean. Jeffrey is an ordained minister and a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. (His paternal grandmother was a Cherokee born in Oklahoma, then known as “Indian Territory," in 1905. Indian Territory became the state of Oklahoma in 1907.) He began his professional career as an actor and singer while performing in the classical opera Pagliacci with famed American tenor Richard Tucker at the World’s Fair and Expo in Washington State in 1974. Jeffrey and his wife Gloria have performed for over 300,000 people at the Rocky Hock Playhouse since it opened in 2000.