Visalia’s Enchanted Playhouse continues to host fundraisers despite the City Council’s formal rejection of their bid to buy the Main Street Theater
By Stephanie Barraza
Special to the Sun-Gazette
VISALIA – For the members of the theater arts community of Visalia, the Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company (EPTC) is an important institution worth fighting for.
“We’re doing everything possible. We’ve got this fundraiser and have a whole list of them coming up,” said Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company board member and theater director Katy Whistler. “We’re fighting to keep the theater.”
Since the Visalia City Council’s announcement of not accepting the theater company’s formal offer to purchase the Main Street Theater building on Sept. 6, the Enchanted Playhouse Theater Company is “actively and aggressively engaged in fundraising endeavors,” according to their press release dated Sept. 7, 2018.
The first of four different fundraisers was held on Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Garden Street Plaza and inside the Main Street Theater in downtown Visalia. Patrons who attended the “Showcase of the Arts” were met with a myriad of performances, including local actors playing scenes from Peter Pan, a performance by El Diamante’s dance troupe, make-up artists, a fashion show and food provided by Tacos Lucha.
“We wanted to come out and support them today,” said Lisa Hinds, a local dance instructor for Kids Edition, who have rented the theater to film their dance performances. “I hope they raise some money and this fundraiser is more about raising awareness about the theater and their needs.”
Shanna Meier, media consultant and EPTC board member, said that although they are far from their fundraising goal, they still have plans if negotiations with Visalia City Council fall through.
“It would be great if we can stay here. If that’s not possible, we just want to make sure that we are able to keep our shows running wherever that’s going to be,” said Meier, who started as an actor with EPTC before joining the board of directors a year ago. “Hopefully in the future we’ll buy a new building in Visalia.”
Jacob Wilson, who was involved with EPTC as a child and recently graduated with a degree in theater arts from Fresno State University, said when he heard the news about EPTC, he felt obligated to give back to his community.
“I was truly bit by the ‘theater bug’ during my time with EPTC. I was in several productions and did theater workshops,” said Wilson, who will be hosting a fundraiser talent show on December 15 at the Garden Street Plaza. “Working with EPTC helped develop my social skills as well as my literacy and creativity.”
With several fundraisers lined up and their future in the balance, EPTC board members hope they will not only be able to meet their goal to keep the theater located on 307 E. Main St., but also want to make sure they keep their mission of bringing theater arts to the Central Valley alive.
“We have 14,000 kids per year come from schools as far as Porterville and Corcoran,” said Meier. “Our mission is to bring plays to school children and bringing culture and arts to children that otherwise would not be able to experience it, and of course being able to cultivate actors.”
EPTC’s next fundraiser will be held at the Garden Street Plaza on Oct. 20, which includes a performance by Run4Cover and a silent auction. For more information on their next fundraisers, visit their web site at www.enchantedplayhouse.org.