Here at the Imperial Centre you can experience:
- Community Plays
- An art museum
- A planetarium
- A science museum
- Art Shows
- Laser Shows
In the beginning, The Imperial Centre for the arts and sciences was a tobacco factory that had ceased operation before the 1980s. The Rocky Mount Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences was rebirthed in 1999 and is currently housed where the old Braswell Memorial Library and the Imperial Tobacco Company are. The Imperial Centre is simultaneously a playhouse and a children's/arts museum. The community theatre has been around for more than 50 years and offers several genres of plays such as tragedies, comedies, dramas and musicals. Volunteers for acting or backstage maintenance is free and always wanted.
The Art Museum is free to the public. Exhibitions change every four months with a permanent collection that never goes into rotation. The permanent collection consists of over 400 artists from North Carolina and other south eastern states. Some of the artists include but are not limited to Sarah Blakeslee, Mark Hewitt, Cynthia Bringle and Louis Orr. There are also fee based classes and workshops that can be registered for online or by phone. While some of the events are free, there are others that require non-residentials to pay more money. There are also artistic opportunities that are held every spring, summer, and fall. There is a Juried Art Show where multimedia fine arts are to be exhibited over the summer. The top winner receives an award of $1,500 and a chance to become a part of the art museum’s permanent collection.
The Science Center is home to permanent exhibits such as The PNC Animal Gallery where children are able to observe and occasionally touch the various wildlife that is available and The Planetarium. The astronomy exhibits in the planetarium are ways for children to have a hands on experience with math, physics, cosmology and other topics. The Planetarium opened in 2006 and can hold an audience upwards to 50 people. Shows begin promptly and are on a first come, first served basis. Some shows are Dinosaurs at Dusk-The Origins of Flight. Faster Than Light-The Dream Of Interstellar Flight, SpacePark360, Seasonal Stargazing and Big Bird’s Adventure (for ages 3-6). There are also musical laser shows that are available for viewing for anyone ages six and up.
Address and Hours of Operation:
270 Gay Street, Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.