If something good came from the pandemic, it was the push Curtain Call Theater for Children got to go out on its own, which now is providing the organization with plenty of opportunities for growth and expansion.
Throughout Curtain Call’s more than 30-year history, it always had relied on community partners for storage, stages, and performance and rehearsal space. But over the last year, many of those community partners remained closed, making it challenging for Curtain Call to continue rehearsing or putting on even small, socially-distant events.
That led to a community member donating a building to Curtain Call. Now, with a space of its own, Executive Director Jeremy Leazenby-Bruce is excited about the possibilities and grateful to be continuing to offer theater arts.
“We believe right now, through the pandemic, that theater programs are more vital than ever given their ability to support the social and emotional well-being of children and families in this time of change and trauma,” said Leazenby-Bruce. “That’s been our goal, our survival through the pandemic, just trying to continue to provide that programming in the midst of a pandemic for our Howard County families.”
The building, located at 2114 N. Armstrong St., now is the home of Curtain Call. The organization also received an Arts, Cultural and Destination Marketing Organization Support Grant, which was aimed at providing economic support to arts and culture, from the state of Indiana from the CARES Act for $4,815.86 e.
The grant was used to renovate the building into a black box studio, complete with a stage and new lighting. The building currently is being leased to Curtain Call for a nominal fee for four years, and the intent, Leazenby-Bruce said, was for Curtain Call to be able to purchase the building at the end of the four years.
However, due to the building’s small size, the children’s theater already has outgrown the space. While the building came with a $65,000 price tag, Leazenby-Bruce has set a fund-raising goal of $100,000 to be able to expand the building. To help get toward that goal, Curtain Call launched a quarterly dinner theater series, which began in February, to fund raise. Heading up the fund-raising efforts is Black Box Benefit Productions, a philanthropic affiliate of Curtain Call that was started for this purpose.
“That’s what we’ve been using to bring in local performers, mostly Kokomo Civic Theater performers that are willing to come and perform shows for us, and the benefit goes back to Curtain Call specifically to fund this building,” Leazenby-Bruce said.
The first dinner theater was held in February at Elite Banquet & Conference Center and had just over 40 attendees.
Now, the second dinner theater is around the corner. On May 7 and 8, Black Box Benefit Productions will present “The Savannah Sipping Society,” also at Elite Banquet & Conference Center. The PG-13 show is described as a “delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy” about “four unique Southern women, all needing to escape the sameness of their day-to-day routines.” The show will feature veteran actresses Joyce Bower, Teresa Hershberger, Liz Harper, and Heather Maroney. Cost is $25 and includes dinner. Proceeds benefit Curtain Call.
With the new building, Curtain Call is picking up speed. Last weekend a workshop called “Acting Through a Song Workshop” was presented by Maddy Cantwell, a graduate of New York City’s American Music and Dramatics Academy, as well as “An Evening of Musical Theater,” an event that was open to the community.
Area youth also have been busy in the new studio, rehearsing for a spring production, “Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Kids” and “Godspell Jr.,” which take place May 14 at 7 p.m. and May 15 at 1:30 p.m. The performances will be held at Cross America. Tickets are $15 and include admission to both shows.
Looking ahead, Leazenby-Bruce is searching for people who are interested in putting on monthly benefit concerts at Curtain Call’s studio, along with directors willing to assist with upcoming shows. The studio also is available for rent.
This Article firstly Publish on kokomoperspective.com