The Academy of Children’s Theatre is like most nonprofit theater groups, relying on the generosity of the public to keep it running and providing drama and theater training for budding actors and technicians.
ACT is grateful for any donations that help finance performances, overhead expenses for its Richland studio, theater royalties, clothing for costumes, scholarships and sound and lighting equipment.
“As we fulfill our mission to provide theater opportunities to children of all abilities and interests, we are at the point where we are outgrowing our resources,” said Julie Schroeder, program director for ACT.
“We currently have more than 20 programs in addition to our year-round classes and five main stage productions a year,” she said. “We’re bursting at the seams (on space) and are in the final phase of a planned 350-seat theater right in our own studio.
“This theater would greatly reduce the strain of more classes, productions and programs that are continually functioning at the same time under one roof,” she said. “Donations would definitely help get us to that goal much faster.”
There also is a need for donations of lighting and sound equipment, such as body microphones, to replace outdated or worn-out gear, as well as office and craft supplies.
“As the size of our programs grow, so does the need for additional equipment,” Schroeder said. “It has always been the policy of ACT to never turn anyone away because of financial challenges. As our economy changes, so do the number of scholarship requests. Sponsoring a student or donating to our scholarship fund is always welcome.”
The group is jumping for joy this month after it received three grants from area foundations that will help promote it’s outreach programs.
Those include: $5,000 from the Women Helping Women Tri-Cities organization; $2,000 from the Three Rivers Community Foundation; and $5,000 from the U.S. Bank Foundation.
The Women Helping Women money will be used to pay for ACT’s Spectrum on Stage program. Spectrum is for autistic young people based on autism teaching techniques involving theater arts that were demonstrated at the National Autism Convention a few years ago. It gives students a chance to build and develop life skills they might not otherwise experience.
The Three Rivers grant will be used for ACT’s new after-school theater enrichment program. The program begins next fall and will teach communication, team building, leadership, presentation and life skills to kids in low-income and low-performing schools throughout the Tri-Cities.
The U.S. Bank grant will provide support for ACT’s 2015 performance season, which includes The Hobbit, Twelfth Night and Little Women.
The studio is closed for the holidays and reopens after Jan. 1.
Donations can be dropped off then at the ACT studio, 213 Wellsian Way in Richland, and there also is a link on its website www.academyofchildrenstheatre.org for monetary donations. The studio phone is 509-943-6027.