North Carolina History Theater to open with ‘Orville’ benefit dinner production

Playwright, journalist, actor and director Bill Hand will star in “Orville” at Captain Ratty’s in New Bern Thursday, Nov. 4. (Gray Whitley photo)

NEW BERN — The North Carolina History Theater is on the way!  Or more precisely, it is taking off with Bill Hand’s “Orville” as its first presentation.

On Thursday, Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Captain Ratty’s at 202 Middle St., this new nonprofit will hold a benefit dinner with delicious fare and Hand portraying the younger Wright brother Orville as he looks back on how he and his brother were inspired by the concept of flight, then created one of history’s greatest inventions by using little more than ingenuity, spare change and equipment they fashioned from things lying around in their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio.

His story ends with a description of the famous First Flight on Dec. 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk.

Patrons are invited to have dinner with “Orville” and help launch this new effort with old friends. Tickets are $50 and include the show and dinner, featuring beef short ribs and grilled salmon. Tickets are now available online at and must be purchased by Thursday, Oct. 28.

In describing the N.C. History Theater, imagine the perfect blend of entertainment and history led by Hand, a playwright, journalist, actor and director. Hand’s story-telling ability, his sense of comedy and fun, and his dedication to historical accuracy promise many delightful and fascinating offerings.

As for what to expect from the theater beyond “Orville,” Hand envisions “Honour, the Musical” as the centerpiece, with an annual run.

“We want to reach out to all of eastern North Carolina with this compelling story of the Spaight-Stanly duel,” explains Hand in a news release. “We are imagining this as an annual outing for families throughout the region.”

Plans are underway for a spring 2022 run.

Patrons can also expect a good helping of comedy fun.  The theater is considering popular comedies and powerful dramas past eras. Some hilarious presentations from recent history are set to make an appearance in January and February with the “Mobile Mystery Comedy Troup”offering to appear at interested theaters with “Murder in the Manor” and Hand’s “Mark Twain, Day and Night,” which will be on tap in March.

For more information or for those who are interested in supporting this new endeavor as a donor or volunteer, go online at, or contact Hand at 252-229-4977, or email The mailing address is P.O. Box 1242, New Bern, NC 28562.

The North Carolina History Theater is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit corporation whose mission is to create, celebrate and present theatrical works that teach and share the history of eastern North Carolina and our nation. 

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