HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - It started out as a blank canvas and a dream. Now, Merrimack Hall is going into its fifth season and is more popular than ever.
Alan and Debra Jenkins have never given up the hope in their passion. Their dream is to give children with special needs a place to come and perform. Their non-profit theatre is changing young lives.
For the Jenkins, Merrimack Hall is a labor of love. The husband and wife team started the venture in 2006.
"As you can see behind us, we are getting ready for the season to start and that is just an example of how we are upping our game here," said Debra.
Big names will take the stage this season, including The Blind Boys of Alabama. Getting to this point has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, though.
"We each brought something unique to the table that the other one could not do," said Debra.
Those skills have turned the former basketball court into a theatre space that has grassroots support from people across the Tennessee Valley.
"I could just envision what it is today," said Alan Jenkins. "It just kind of had a good vibe."
The vibe has continued to bring positive energy. But at times, creating a theatre from the ground up has not been easy.
"Huge challenges," said Debra. "Neither one of us -- let's see -- we had no experience operating a theatre."
"We jumped in this head first," said Alan.
With four seasons under their belts and those lessons learned, Merrimack Hall is positioned to continue bringing life to the historic brick building on Triana Boulevard.
"We just feel very strongly about making the arts accessible to people with special needs," said Debra.
The Jenkins' dream is now a reality. You can buy tickets for the upcoming season here.