Despite trials and tribulations, members of the Lincoln Theatre Guild know the show must go on.
The non-profit organization lost its administrative director in April and found itself deeply in debt.
Since then, anonymous donations have cleared up financial worries and new board members are being recruited.
â€œThe reorganization has been a lot of work, but itâ€™s really paying off,â€ said Betsy Okonski, vice president of the board. â€œThings have turned around 100 percent.â€
With the loss of its administrator, the board plans to go back to its roots as a committee-run organization.
Okonski hopes the board will have a total of 22 members by fall and committees ranging from fund-raising to production.
Another change is the location of the organizationâ€™s drama camp.
For the first time, the guild has teamed up with the Lincoln Charter School. One session of the drama camp will be held at the schoolâ€™s east Lincoln campus. The second week it will be held at the schoolâ€™s Lincolnton campus.
Prior to this summer, the drama camps have taken place at the Lincoln Cultural Center.
â€œThere were a lot of reasons (for the change in location),â€ said Okonski. â€œOne big reason is that we wanted to reach out more to the Denver audience.â€
The guild is still a member of the Cultural Center.
â€œI can see us going back to the Cultural Center in the future if we build it up to a point where we need three sessions,â€ said Okonski.
The drama camp includes workshops on mask making, music, improvisation and pantomime and ensemble work. It will include plays starring campers presented by teenage junior directors.
This yearâ€™s camp will run from July 11 to the 15 at the Denver campus and July 18 through the 22 at the Lincolnton campus. The cost is $75 per week.
The change in drama camp location isnâ€™t the only new thing happening this summer. Casting is already in progress for Shakespeare in the Park, which is expected to occur in outdoor venues this summer.
â€œIt should be something that is really fun and different,â€ said Okonski.
Abridged versions of â€œRomeo and Julietâ€ and â€œA Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dreamâ€ will be performed. Those attending will be invited to bring picnic lunches.
As for the guildâ€™s departed director, she has a few plans of her own.
Andrea Tripodi has accepted a job in Phoenix, Ariz. teaching and directing youth theater.
â€œIâ€™m excited. I love working with kids,â€ said Tripodi. â€œMy strengths are definitely more creative than administrative.â€
Tripodi has been involved with the guild since 1998. She will miss her drama students and hopes theater thrives in Lincoln County.
â€œI think itâ€™s really important for the community to support the theater because it has so many benefits,â€ she said.
While the guild has paid off its debts, itâ€™s still seeking corporate sponsors for future plays as well as drama camp to pay overhead expenses.
Okonski believes sponsors will be able to build a strong reputation in the community as supporters of the arts.
â€œTo partner up is something that benefits both them and us,â€ said Okonski.
The board also hopes to recruit more members with business connections as another way to improve its finances.
by Sarah Grano