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to raise $7,000 by March 1 to receive a $20,000 challenge grant from the Riverboat Development Authority to update the outdated lighting system at the theater, 2822 Eastern Ave.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, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.