WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The National Black Theatre Festival is taking center stage this week in Winston-Salem.

The week-long celebration of the arts begins Monday with a large gala at the newly-renovated Benton Convention Center.

Big name stars are expected to attend, Anna Maria Horsford and Obba Babatundé from the Bold and the Beautiful.

Volunteers have been hard at work all week getting ready for the big event that's expected to draw 60,000 people to Winston-Salem.

As the Technical Director of the festival, Arthur Reese has a hand in all of it.

"It's the most exciting time of the year," Reese said. "Enjoy some of the best theater you've ever seen right here in your hometown. There'll be 184 performances of 39 productions in 20 spaces."

The Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the festival will have an $8 million dollar economic impact on the city.

Local hotels like the Historic Brookstown Inn have been sold out for months.

"It's a tremendous amount of business for us," said General Manager Steve Lawson. "We were sold out 6 months ago."

The festival runs from Monday, July 31 to Sunday, August 5.

CLICK HERE for a full list of performances.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets.