The Prizery has become a cultural hub of Southside Virginia enticing art-loving tourists.
When entering The Prizery, the building still has the look and feel of an aging tobacco warehouse with some of the crop's history — and the role it played in Halifax County — lining the walls with pictures, dates and information.
However, by just turning one corner of the hallway, guests are taken somewhere else entirely.
"You walk around the corner and you say 'Oh my gosh' and there is the theater space," said Chris Jones, The Prizery's artistic director. "People aren't expecting to see that. That is the wow factor."
The 250-seat Chastain Theatre is just part of the 38,000-square-foot building that is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places as part of the South Boston Historic Tobacco Warehouse District. The Prizery, which once served as a tobacco warehouse, is now a lively center for the arts attracting thousands of visitors from outside the area each year.
It is believed that the building was constructed in the late 1800s by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. and it was of similar structure that it is today. The basement was used for manufacturing the 1,000 pound tobacco barrels where the tobacco was "prized" — pressed layer by layer into the hogshead barrels. The first floor was used for storage and the second floor was for pickups and drop offs and the top floor was for drying the tobacco.