Theatre provides entertainment for music lovers

The end. Theatre owner Scott Long speaks to an audience at Boxcar Voices. The end. Theatre is the students’ and community members’ choice for best live-music venue.

As the end. Theatre approaches its seventh birthday May 15, owner Scott Long can also add its winning position for the best live-music venue to its list of accomplishments.

With 163 votes, the end. beat 116 E. Mobile’s 46 votes and FloBama’s 32 votes.

Local and out-of-state musicians journey to the end. to perform their music, and Long said he makes the price to perform affordable for the “underdog” performers.

“There’s the kind of thing that’s just mainstream, that everybody can get behind, because there’s just no rough edges to it,” he said. “But, the rough edges are so moderate that no one gets terribly upset. I like the things that terribly upset people.

“They’re processing something big, and something passionate, and something that is equal parts beautiful and terrible. And, I’m their cheerleader.”

Junior Jeremy Smith, who has worked to organize events at the end., performs at the theatre as well. He said his involvement has spanned three years.

“The type of music I write is sometimes experimental and almost always esoteric,” he said. “In other words, I’m not a guy with a guitar. Scott at the end. has always been great about giving me a place to present my work.”

The end. lets artists express their individuality, Smith said.

“We talk so much about the rich musical heritage of the Shoals, but the end. is providing a place for musicians and artist to experiment and push us into the future,” he said. “If all we support is the past, we will cease to be a music town and become a music history town.”

Smith’s was the most recent show senior Hailey Blankenship saw at the theatre, and visiting the end. was an enjoyable experience, she said.

“It is like nothing I have ever seen before, and I love that the owner is giving local musicians a chance to showcase their talent,” she said.

Long came up with the idea of creating a theatre company as a project for his arts management class as an undergraduate theatre student at UNA.

Originally, he named it The Enchanted Theatre Company, he said. He later changed the name to the end.

“There’s a degree of finality and a degree of intensity to the title ‘the end.,’ and it hasn’t always worked in my favor, but it is true of what we do,” he said. “There’s nothing half-measured about what we do.”

Although Long originally worked with other UNA students to open the theatre, he said he now runs it solo as most of the original team is “spread all over the place.”

In addition to the name, visitors will notice another characteristic to the theatre: secondhand couches and seats.

“For every two people who go to see a play, one of them doesn’t want to be there,” Long said. “They want to be anywhere else. But, they’re here because this is what they’ve agreed to do. So by god, if they’re going to pay for their ticket, they should be able to sleep in comfort.”

The couches came from a variety of areas including yards sales, estate sales, recently married people, and even Long’s home, he said.

Overall, the theater’s “welcoming” environment makes it a place visitors want to return to, said junior Sherree Weakley, master of ceremonies of the spoken-word group Boxcar Voices, which performs biweekly at the theatre.

“It gives a venue to people who wouldn’t have another place to perform,” she said. “I don’t see (Boxcar Voices) exactly fitting in another place in the way that it does at the end.”