Lincoln High School seeking $30K for theater updates

20-year-old equipment obsolete, breaking down
By: Mackenzie Myers, Reporter
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Between ripped curtains, burned-out stage lights, outdated speakers and several other equipment issues, Lincoln High School’s drama program is seeking $30,000 to upgrade its performance venue.

Lincoln High School Principal Jay Berns posted an update last week urging community members to help the school reach “a goal of theatre excellence” by contributing to a GoFundMe account.

The target amount should be enough to repair and update prioritized parts of the theatre, according to drama teacher Hank Florence.

“When the theater was built 20 years ago, they cut a couple corners, did it on a budget,” Florence said.

Now, the equipment issues make it difficult for students to learn and perform, according to Florence. For example, Florence described a performance earlier this year when students had to tape down wires around the theater to use body microphones. Some of the curtains are torn or worn thin and there are no outlets near the front of the stage, which makes it difficult to use standing microphones. Florence said the theater functions but is uncomfortable to use.

Lincoln High’s theater program offers three levels of drama classes and is hoping to expand into four levels over the next few years, according to Florence. About 240 students are in the program. But even students who aren’t in drama can perform in plays and musicals, which take place twice a year.

Other departments within the school use the theater space. Lincoln High’s choir and band have concerts on the stage. The National Honor Society’s induction ceremony takes place there and Phoenix High School uses the space for its graduation ceremony.

 “The theater is used constantly, so while we stand to benefit from [upgrades] as the drama department, the whole school will too,” Florence said.

Within the last year, the drama club has raised $5,000 and has been receiving small checks of $10, $20 or $50 from community members — gestures that both Berns and Florence say are appreciated. The smaller donations have allowed the department to make gradual changes, such as installing a new main curtain last summer.

But Florence said the department is reaching out to local businesses and service organizations to secure larger funds.

“For an amount like $30,000, you can have bake sales to the end of time to raise that amount,” Florence said. “We’re not opposed to bake sales and car washes but we are actively pursuing larger donations.”

Florence said the school’s goal is to have money raised and updates installed by fall 2020. He added that discounted or volunteered skilled labor such as electrical installation can help the theater reach that goal.

“We’re taking donations of all shapes and sizes,” Florence said.