Attending plays is an enriching and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon or night.
When the theater company is at a Lincoln venue, that’s a giant plus for residents.
Fortunately for Lincoln residents, the Lincoln Theatre Company has been doing just that since opening in mid-2014 with a fourfold mission.
That mission is to provide educational opportunities for all ages focused on the performing arts; showcase local talent and bring an enjoyable educational and theatrical experience to Lincoln; provide quality community-based theatrical entertainment, and be a significant local cultural asset.
As if that wasn’t enough for the young nonprofit organization to accomplish, the Lincoln Theatre Company added major fundraising to its goals when partnering Dec. 9, 2014 with the city. Wanting to hold its plays and concerts at the downtown Lincoln Civic Auditorium, the volunteer-run theatre company agreed to raise thousands of dollars and help make the Lincoln Civic Auditorium more performance-friendly.
That agreement with the city took place almost three years ago and the Lincoln Theatre Company is fulfilling its promise.
“The auditorium, as we found it, was a sterile white cube with little effort or expense devoted to make it comfortable for the audience. It had ineffective window coverings, impossible acoustics with a distracting echo and uncomfortable seating,” said theatre company founder and President Paul Schechter. “Lincoln Theatre Company has provided acoustic paneling and window covering and, under the guidance of professional decorators, painted the entire auditorium and entry in an attractive color scheme. We researched and purchased new seating, the funding for which was provided by the city. All of this has converted a virtually unusable space into an attractive and comfortable performing arts venue. Stage enhancements have been a major focus as the auditorium as we found it was totally unequipped for performing arts.”
The nonprofit volunteers also painted the stage area, increased its performing area by 128 square feet and resurfaced it with a danceable stage surface.
Lincoln Theatre Company brought electric power to the stage and audience areas, and installed infrastructure needed to mount and control modern stage lighting and installed theater lighting and control systems.
Other improvements included installing stage, back stage and front-of-house speakers, a control board and microphones.
So far, expenditures for the improvements are at about $100,000, according to Schechter.
And the list of future improvements goes on, including constructing dressing rooms and backstage restroom, raised audience seating and second-floor asbestos remediation.
Through all the renovations, Lincoln Theatre Company has also regularly produced plays and concerts for all ages at the Lincoln Civic Auditorium at 511 5th St.
And Lincoln residents are supporting the company. Lincoln Theatre Company's current musical production, “Nunsense,” from Oct. 27 to Nov. 11 is playing often to full houses.
Presented next will be the Chorister Holiday Concert on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 3, followed by “Oklahoma! from Feb. 16 to May 3.
While most of the “Nunsense” audience members Sunday were older, due to the adult material, the concerts will be a favorite of many families wanting to start holiday celebrations early.
And “Oklahoma” is part of the theatre company’s Young Performers’ Program with roles for those between the ages of 10 and 25.
It’s a credit to Lincoln Theatre Company and this city that youth are being introduced to plays without having to leave Lincoln. Theater is a great option to have where we live and work.