Davenport Junior Theatre needs to raise $7,000 by March 1 to receive a $20,000 challenge grant from the Riverboat Development Authority to update the outdated lighting system at the theater, 2822 Eastern Ave.
"We are incredibly grateful to the RDA for their generous support of our mission of theater 'For Kids, By Kids,'" said Kristin Meyer, Junior Theatre Inc. board president and DJT alumna. "We work very hard to continue DJT's legacy of service to our community, and we are excited by the challenge to develop our fundraising capacity."
"The size of this grant is truly a sign of the program's success and growth," said Daniel Sheridan, DJT artistic director. "We continue to search for new and better ways to serve our community, and we are excited to see what the next decade will bring."
Most of the current lighting system is 35 to 40 years old, and the independent, nonprofit group that runs the DJT mainstage productions wants the latest technology, Mr. Sheridan said. "We're excited about the opportunity to bring in up-to-date equipment."
Since its creation in 1951, Davenport Junior Theatre has reached hundreds of thousands of area residents through public performances and theater and dance education. DJT has more than 1,400 enrollments annually.
Abbie Carpenter, a 15-year-old DJT participant, is one of many students who operate the lighting equipment. "It's always important to keep up with technology," she said. "I enjoy the magic of technical theater. I love to see the awe on kids' faces."
Not only will new lighting equipment impact DJT theater and dance programs but also the facility's many renters -- which include The Bucktown Revue, Ballet Quad Cities, Above the Barre Dance Academy, Sacred City Church, Fresh Start Faith Center, Center Stage Performing Arts and the Wittenmyer Learning Center.
The Davenport Parks and Recreation Department -- which owns the Nighswander Theatre and allows DJT to operate there free of charge -- has pledged $15,000 to the $42,000 project for new equipment, Mr. Sheridan said.
Davenport Junior Theatre offers classes to kids ages 3 to 18, in acting, musical theater, improvisation, technical theater, ballet, hip-hop, tap, jazz and more.
Anyone interested in supporting the DJT lighting campaign can give online at DavenportJuniorTheatre.org. For more information, call (563) 326-7862.
Today is Sunday, April 20, the 110th day of 2014. There are 255 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The attention of contractors is called to proposals for building a magazine. The building is to be erected on the south side of the island, above the railroad, nearly opposite Sinnit's ice houses. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Ladies patent leather tip shoes were selling for $3 at the M & K store, and men's spring overcoats were advertised at $7.50. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Fred Feuchter, of Davenport, was elected president of the Tri-City Post Office Clerks club, and Joe Goldsmith, of Rock Island, was named secretary treasurer. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mass vaccination of more than 1,600 employed of the Rock Island Arsenal has been ordered by Col. Norman Ramsey after a 13-year-old daughter of the Arsenal manager became ill with smallpox. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The 1964 Scout-O-Rama of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts closed a two-day session last evening at the Rock Island Armory with 5,000 paid attendance. 1989 -- 25 years ago: "From the horse and buggy days ... to this" said Mercer County Sheriff Marvin Thirtyacre, waving his hand to indicate the sheriff's department facilities at the new $1.5 million Mercer County Jail in Aledo.