The 2018 Partner in Business Award goes to the Barrow-Civic Theatre (BCT), owned and operated by the Franklin Civic Operetta Association (FCOA). The FCOA’s mission is to be a leader in the cultural growth, diversity, and vitality of the region, with a vision to provide opportunities for quality programming and entertainment by tapping the resources of all age groups and encouraging the pursuit of artistic talents.
The FCOA celebrated it’s 25th anniversary in 2018 and had a full schedule of events, presenting award-winning literature from a diverse array of genre.
With a commitment to improving processes, staff made major updates to production guidelines by streamlining the process. Multi-member production teams developed into a new standard, ushering in several non-board members as FCOA show producers and members of the Programming Committee.
BCT’s Little Theatre maintained a lively schedule of events. The Off-Barrow Committee completed an internal review over the summer and created a Committee Overview document for the Board Development Committee. A production of the play Wait Until Dark was a great hit in November, selling out several shows, and proving the Little Theatre is a special and unique downtown venue for smaller plays and events.
The first phase of building improvements began in the Little Theatre over the holidays. A new technical booth featuring an audio snake, light board, and new stage are part of the improvements.
The Youth Theatre program produces annual shows and workshops that allow our area’s youth to develop skills in all aspects of theater. The program encourages parent participation, and the staff continue to work as a team to empower each young participant.
The Barrow Theatre Institute (BTI), a series of after school, evening, and weekend classes and workshops taught by local instructors is gaining momentum and hopes to recognize continual growth in registrants and classes offered.
Another educational event included an Artist In Residence, in collaboration with Erie Arts & Culture (EAC) and Pennsylvania Partner for the Arts (PPA). Two Teaching Artists spent several weeks working with local youth to install a mosaic tile installation for the entrance to The Little Theatre (see left). The finished product tells the stories the participating youth gathered to answer the question “Why Franklin?” This is a much-needed, vibrant and colorful update to the facade of the Little Theatre.
2018 was an active and productive year for the FCOA Board Development committee. A Board Retreat was held in September, focused on values and Board roles.
The theatre presented over 100 ticket vouchers to area non-profits for fundraisers. The theatre was represented at downtown events and FCOA cast members attended festivals and concerts in the park to promote shows, and the theatre opened its doors for concessions and rest room facilities.
Many building improvements were made or begun in 2018, including the replacement of pumps and one of the boiler units. Staff members painted the outside alley wall, a much-needed improvement to the cosmetics of the building. Additional improvements included the replacement of two damaged doors, as well as carpet throughout the building.
“The opening of the Barrow-Civic Theatre 25 years ago was a dream come true. Today, this organization is still making dreams come true for performers and the community,” said Zach Covington, Executive Director.
The Barrow-Civic Theatre will be honored at our Annual Dinner on Wednesday, February 27.
This article was published in the Venango Area Chamber of Commerce’s February 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.