Recently, the Old Courthouse Theater
was approved for several different grants, and has been making improvements ever since.
It started with a re-paving of the parking lot, something that has been put on the back burner for a while but was desperately needed. What's next? Mary Kathryn Ewart, OCT's President of the Board of Directors, filled us in on all the details.
I heard that you were recently awarded a grant,
congratulations! Tell us a little bit about that process and how it's been.
OCT has received several grants
this year. While the grant writing process can be challenging, it forces the
organization to be clear about its needs.
OCT also utilized free resources
through the Small Business Administration to assess what is working and what is
not working within the business structure of the organization.
What are some of the things the money will go towards?
The Grassroots Grant is applied to
production costs – script and music royalties, set construction materials,
costume materials, contract labor, etc. Typically, a musical costs between
$15,000 and $20,000 to produce. A non-musical (play) costs between $8,000 and
$10,000 to produce. The Grassroots Grant helps to offset these production
costs, so that OCT can keep our ticket prices affordable for families.
The other grants received were for
specific projects and those funds can only be used for those projects. These
grants focused on capital improvements, specifically our historic facility. In
the past 12 months, OCT has repaired the roof on both buildings, installed a
new Stormwater Drainage system on both buildings, and resurfaced the parking
What's one improvement that you are most excited about?
How about the most useful?
I’m excited about all of it,
because these improvements have been needed for years. What inspired me was
Lizzie Kunesh remodeling the cast dressing rooms for her Gold Star project for
Girl Scouts. She demonstrated how important it is to give back in community
theatre – for it takes the community to keep the theatre alive.
What can we expect come the next show?
Well with a name like “Disaster”…..
Seriously though, expect to have fun. You’ll definitely remember the music,
even if you want to forget the clothes styles. Also, OCT’s production of
“Disaster!” will be the North Carolina state premier! Make sure to return to
OCT for each production this season. All of the directors for next season are
new to the OCT stage so they will bring fresh talent to their productions.
Tell us a little bit about the Annual Meeting and Awards
Celebration last week. How did it go?
It’s always wonderful to reunite
with everyone from each production. Sometimes, it’s been just a few weeks, as
in the case of “The Music Man”. Other times, like with “Dixie Swim Club” and
“Deathtrap”, several productions have occurred since those shows closed. It’s
also a special time to celebrate the hard work these actors, designers, and
tech crew apply to each production.
What was the most memorable moment of the evening?
Seeing the support each one of
these artists gives to one another. Yes, there’s a bit of disappointment, and
that’s human nature. These artists support one another, and that’s not only
memorable, but inspiring.
What is OCT focusing on?
OCT is focusing on ‘improving the
experience’ for its patrons and artists. While the new parking lot is a “BAM in
your face” kind of improvement, others such as changing online ticket systems
are not as noticeable. We’re looking at everything – from the sound and
lighting for productions, to front-of-house operations, to even signage. We
want our supporters to receive the best possible experience they can when they
Are there any other shows we should know about?
The annual 10-Minute Play Festival
will be held offsite as a change. This year’s theme, “Something’s Brewing”
coincides with Cabarrus Brewing Company serving as the location host for the
OCT will partner with Royal Oaks
Elementary School starting in the 2017 – 2018 school year. Instead of competing
with the many drama camps in the community, OCT is partnering with Royal Oaks
to develop a program that focuses on education while also exposing students all
aspects of theatre – not just appearing on stage. It’s possible we could expand
this program to other schools and additional grade levels. We are excited
because this program will be a unique way to expose youth theatre to the
OCT is a 501c3 nonprofit
organization, and donations are tax deductible. These donations can be assigned
to a specific project or to general needs. Please contact OCT at 704-788-2405
or email@example.com for additional