Wingate University's Batte Center launches 15th season

Contact: Kim Williams
Communication Writer

Laura Kratt
Director of Cultural Events

Wingate, N.C. –Wingate University announces their 15th Annual Performance Series featuring a diverse array of legendary performers, best-selling authors, regional collaborations and cultural events during the 2013–14 season.

Highlights of The Batte season include a kick-off with the International Bluegrass Music Association’s ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR, The Gibson Brothers. Audience members become participants in a live taping of NPR’s most popular radio program, “From the Top,” when they move their studio to the McGee Theatre stage for one night only. Bestselling author and humorist, David Sedaris, will read stories from his newest book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls. Two family-friendly events have also been added: Mermaid Theatre’s visually-stunning black light puppet production of stories by award-winning author Eric Carle and the animal antics of Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre for audiences of all ages. The season will wrap up with comedian, Paula Poundstone, who is heard locally on WFAE’s broadcasts of the NPR show Wait Wait Don’t Tell where she is a regular panelist.

The Batte Center launches a new series, The Connected Campus: CREATED EQUAL, a collaborative project involving a wide range of Wingate faculty, staff and departments with an in-depth exploration of a central theme. The theme CREATED EQUAL is particularly timely due to the 50th anniversary of the passage of the United States Civil Rights Act of 1964. Featuring curated performances, exhibits and events, the series will explore the fight for quality as a force for change both at home and abroad. Events will include: “A Game Apart,” a play based upon the life of baseball legend Jackie Robinson; a concert by South African activist Johnny Clegg; a combined regional choral concert under the direction of a special guest conductor from South Africa and hosted by the Wingate Choral Program; and the exhibition “From Apartheid to Democracy” on loan from the Levine Museum of the New South. Additional events will be announced in the fall.

The Batte Center presents its 2013-14 season:

The Gibson Brothers - 9/27/13
The Gibson Brothers’ harmony singing and instrumental virtuosity won them the highest accolade in bluegrass, the 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association’s award for Entertainer of the Year and Gospel Recorded Event of the Year.

Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia presents:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar & other Eric Carle stories - 10/20/13
Featuring boldly-colored puppets and innovative black light techniques, Mermaid Theatre’s acclaimed stage adaption breathes life into Eric Carle stories that have enchanted generations of readers.

David Sedaris - 10/24/13
With wit and incisive social critiques, NPR humorist and bestselling author, David Sedaris, has become one of America’s preeminent humor writers and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today.

Sweet Honey in the Rock - 11/15/13
Grammy Award winning Sweet Honey’s collective voice, occasionally accompanied by hand percussion instruments, produces a sound filled with soulful harmonies and intricate rhythms rooted in African American traditions.

From The Top - 11/23/13
Hosted by classical pianist Christopher O’Riley, From the Top showcases the performances and personal stories of young gifted classical musicians. Broadcast on 250 stations nationwide to an audience of more than 700,000 listeners, From the Top is one of the most popular classical music programs on public radio.

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater - 1/31/14
Russian circus star Gregory Popovich brings his unique combination of rescue-pet performers and eye-popping juggling for this family-friendly event. His award-winning show features a cast of 15 house cats and 10 dogs rescued from animal shelters plus 4 geese, 8 white doves and a parrot or two.

Mike Wiley in “A Game Apart” - 2/7/14
In A Game Apart, actor Mike Wiley provides a glimpse of Jackie Robinson’s life. A star player who was showered with adulation on the field, Robinson became a second-class citizen when he walked off the diamond.

The Fantasticks - 3/22/14
It’s the longest running musical in history that tells a comedic romantic tale about a boy, a girl, their meddling fathers and the wall that divides them.

Johnny Clegg Band - 3/28/14
Johnny Clegg is one of South Africa’s most celebrated sons. He is a singer, songwriter, dancer, anthropologist and musical activist whose infectious crossover music, a vibrant blend of Western pop and African Zulu rhythms, has exploded onto the international scene and broken through all the barriers in his own country. Known as "the white Zulu," Clegg formed one of the first successful integrated bands in South Africa.

Paula Poundstone - 4/11/14
Appearing on stage with a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, Poundstone is famous for her sharp wit and spontaneous interactions with audience members.

Tickets are on sale now to Season Subscribers and members of the Batte Center Friends group by mail, email, phone and fax. To subscribe, patrons can buy three or more shows and Friends of the Batte Memberships start at $50. Single tickets will go on sale to the general public on June 10. Tickets will be mailed out in August. Visit Wingate University’s Batte Center website at for a complete schedule of events, ticket prices, as well as subscriber and membership information or call 704-233-8300.

The Batte Center
Opened in 1999, the George A. Batte, Jr. Fine Arts Center presents events in the McGee Theatre, Plyer-Griffin Recital Hall and Austin Auditorium. Located just a short five minute drive from Monroe, The Batte is just 2 blocks off of Highway 74 and only 30 miles east of Charlotte. Free parking is plentiful and all three performance spaces offer full wheelchair accessibility.

About Wingate University
Wingate University, ranked as the 6th "best value" in the South by U.S. News & World Report, serves nearly 2,700 students on three campuses in Wingate, Matthews and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in 1896, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant studies and sport administration, and doctorates in pharmacy, physical therapy and education. With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain the tools and support needed to excel in academics and apply that learning toward an extraordinary career and life.

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In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student athletes compete in 22 NCAA Division II sports. The University has won the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the past seven years. For more information, go to