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.” Jeffrey
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 Jeffrey 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 85
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 Edenton, NC. (www.christianmusicalsonline.com)
Over 325,000 patrons have enjoyed Rocky Hock Playhouse musicals.
In 2009 the theatre relocated to Washington, NC for three years
before happily 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 18 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), Suriname, South America
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
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 85 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 for more than 46 years and
have two adult children. Their daughter, Holly often appeared in RHP
productions and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education
from ECSU in Elizabeth City, NC. She currently serves the Lord as a full
time teacher at the International Academy of Suriname in South America.
Holly was previously a missionary in Cameroon, Africa for four years. Their
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.
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 Central Oregon “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 nearly 200 major works including one Canadian
premiere and over 85 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, Suriname, South America 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.) Jeffrey began his professional career
as an actor and singer while performing in the classical opera “Pagliacci”
with famed American ten,or Richard Tucker at the World’s Fair and Expo in
Washington State in 1974. Jeffrey and his wife Gloria have performed for
over 325,000 people
at the Rocky Hock Playhouse since it opened in 2000.