Stained Glass Theatre Gets $75,000 Grant to Make Church Permanent Home for Productions

Stained Glass Theatre Gets $75,000 Grant to Make Church Permanent Home for Productions
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Joplin Stained Glass Theatre lands a 75-thousand dollar grant from the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri and even more in matching money if it can raise 100-thousand dollars.

Rebuilding after the tornado means letting go of one dream for another to let the theatre survive.

Currently there are donated seats, lights, costumes and a stage all inside an old church at 21 st and Annie Baxter Streets. But for stained glass theatre the church is becoming its permanent home.

The president of the Stained Glass Board of Directors, Gregg Murdock says, “Since we purchased this building and began visualizing what we can do in this building, it has reenergized the ministry and the community theatre. Here at Stained Glass Theater volunteers have gotten excited. They can see the building, see the potential.”

Grant funds would create handicap accessible bathrooms, entrances and an upgrade of electricity. A new heating and air unit has already been installed. Later exterior needs would be addressed including a possible parking lot. A plus with the church is that it has a big basement to use as a storm shelter. Important for members of Stained Glass many of whom were inside the old theatre when it was destroyed, killing two because not all could fit in that building’s basement.

The only thing standing in the way of starting renovations is a building permit which the theatre applied for in January.

Murdock says, “We’re hoping that we’ll receive that building permit really soon. We’ve got volunteers, we’ve got money,we’ve got people lined up. We just need a building permit now.”

Making this its permanent home means giving up a dream of building on land donated by Mercy/St. John’s where the old theatre was destroyed by the 2011 tornado. That would have cost up to $2 million dollars.

Board member and play director Tammy Aggus says, “A brand new place would be wonderful but we’re not people with deep pockets. That would take searching for a lot more grants.”

Currently rehearsals are held here at the church but its not suitable for full fledged performances with an audience and that makes it difficult for those who produce the plays.

Aggus says, “Your set has to be transportable and not over eight feet tall because you’ve got to get through doors wherever you go. So, that makes it difficult.”

Murdock says, “In the past three years, we realized moving from place to place to place was not only beginning to wear on our patrons coming to shows, but also our volunteer base. We were slowing losing people and if we didn’t get a home soon, we really were afraid eventually we wouldn’t be able to survive.”

Tammy encourages cast members to be flexible. But renovating this building will bring big benefits.

Aggus says, “There’s something about being home. Its just your place. You can do what you want. You can knock a hole in the wall, do whatever you need to do to make the play happen. So it would be nice to be home.

The goal for Stained Glass is to raise 275- thousand dollars for phase one.

The community foundation of Southwest Missouri is offering another 50 thousand dollars if the theatre can raise 100 thousand.

Later it would try to raise 200 thousand dollars more to create a parking lot by razing a home next door and do more exterior work on the building.