Abilene Community Theatre Making Progress After One-Year Hiatus

Published 06/22 2014 04:02PM

Updated 06/23 2014 10:38PM

Board members of the Abilene Community Theatre gathered at a meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss future planning and expenses.

Floor plans were presented detailing the additional features wanted for the main theatre building. The conceptual plan was divided into three phases with plans to install new, bigger and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant bathrooms, larger dressing rooms, and replacing the grand drape.

Each phase will be completed as funds are raised, according to the ACT Board. They say they will actively work to raise the funds needed to complete each phase.

The first phase includes removing existing restroom walls, adding restrooms, and supplying a new janitor's closet in the front lobby section of the theatre. The second phase hopes to remove and replace house lights, resurface dropped stage, and add ADA accessible seating locations at the house and stage area. The third phase will have new outside walls and new men and women dressing rooms backstage.

"We're raising funds to complete the first two phases and that might cost about $125,000," says Bruce Bachmann, ACT board treasurer.

The theatre was in a hiatus after its 2012/2013 season due to financial losses accumulated over the previous four years. Within the next three to four months, new board members were brought in to discuss a variety of issues from closing ACT, choosing other venues, teaming up with non-profit organizations, or sticking with the current location and devising a plan with improvements.

During the hiatus, the theatre spent nearly $8,000 to complete asbestos abatement. A gift of $25,000 was given to help with electrical upgrades, as well as several businesses donating equipment. The theatre also received $15,000 to help with basic expenses, and other monetary gifts through supporters and a fundraiser dinner.

Other future plans include refurbishing and using the round building next door as a second venue, plus acquiring the Parks building, now abandoned, located north of the theatre.

The ACT Board decided not to offer a "regular" season for 2014/2015, however, there will still be some events. The first ACT production of this upcoming season will be "Steel Magnolias" starting August 21st.

The 2015/2016 season will celebrate the theatre's 60th anniversary.

If you would like help volunteer or donate to the theatre, you can do so by calling (325) 673-6271.

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