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to raise $7,000 by March 1 to receive a $20,000 challenge grant from the Riverboat Development Authority to update the outdated lighting system at the theater, 2822 Eastern Ave.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 Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.