Galion Community Theatre, hit hard by COVID-19, begins 12-week fundraiser


By Jodi Myers - Galion Inquirer



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GALION — With live performances on hold at Galion Community Theatre because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization is having a rough time trying to pay monthly bills.

To make sure their doors can stay open in the future, GCT is conducting a 12-week fundraiser called “Fill the Seats” in hopes to raise enough money to cover costs for the next year.

Beth Anne Jarvis, a board member of GCT and a volunteer, along with volunteer Rowan Kempf, are leading up the campaign and recently talked about the importance of the fundraising efforts.

“Galion Community Theatre has recently undergone a couple challenges,” Jarvis said, noting COVID-19 forced them to close their doors so far this season, and at the end of 2019 they had to do some emergency repairs to the theatre. “And that left our bank account very, very low. So, going into this pandemic we were not in the best shape we have ever been in, and it’s hitting us pretty hard. Where our bank account stood, we could keep our doors open and pay operating expenses for three months. Prior to starting the fundraising campaign, we were only going to be able to keep our building open through July or August.

“That’s what gave us the big motivation to start this fundraising campaign,” Jarvis added. “Another big thing is we rely on our regular seasons of performances, and large group gatherings not being permitted right now. A huge source of our yearly income has been taken away.”

Kempf explained how the fundraiser works.

“This is a 12-week campaign from May 1 through the end of July, and in those 12 weeks we are hoping to raise 12 months worth of operating funds to carry us through to the summer of 2021, when we’re expecting to be able to do full-fledged productions again,” he said.

“Each week we are providing free online content on all of our social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — in hopes to encourage people to donate to our cause,” Jarvis said. “We are also selling campaign t-shirts and regular theatre t-shirts as well. Every Friday we are hosting a Facebook Live event at 8 p.m. and that’s where we’ll be talking to people who have been instrumental in the theatre or someone the theatre has had an impact on.” This Friday, May 15, Jarvis said Jakob Plummer will be featured on their Facebook Live event. “He grew up in the theatre and helped his mom with kids workshops at GCT. He was one of the recipients of the Galion Community Theatre scholarships in 2010. And now he is a stage manager in New York City for Broadway and Off Broadway productions.”

To donate or purchase t-shirts, people can visit theGalion Community Theatre website at galiontheatre.org/donate.

“The basic idea is because we aren’t able to put on physical shows right now, we’re asking people to meet or weekly fundraising campaign goal by asking them to ‘fill the seats’ virtually,’ Kempf said. “To meet our goal we’d have to fill at least 200 virtual seats, That first day of the campaign the community response was overwhelming. We met our first weekly goal on that first day alone and the first week wasn’t over yet.

“Publicly fundraising during a pandemic isn’t something we want to do, but it’s something we need to do,” Kempf added.

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By Jodi Myers

Galion Inquirer