The Spring Valley Stagehands Theatre gets a new roof. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
The Spring Valley Stagehands Theatre gets a new roof. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

Submitted by Lori Peterson, Spring Valley Stagehands

SPRING VALLEY, WI – On Monday, March 25, the end of a three-and-a-half-year journey came to a close for the Spring Valley Stagehands Theatre. It marked the culmination of a goal set by the Stagehands in July 2016 – to raise enough money to replace the tired old flat roof on the theatre building – when Eau Claire Roofing put the finishing touches on, packed up their scaffolding, and drove their boom truck back to Eau Claire.

The Stagehands are certainly excited about the result – and the anticipation of no more drip, drip, dripping! Yet we want to be sure that all of those who contributed to their capital campaign know how deep the appreciation is for gifts both large and small. So thank you, dear community – please know we appreciate you and your continued support. The Stagehands wouldn’t be here today, as vibrantly as we are, without those who volunteer so many hours, without pay; bring their talents and skills to performing, set building, stage lighting, and more; come to concerts and shows, sometimes multiple times for each concert or show; give financially, set up creative fundraising events/endeavors, or donate material goods; and in so many other ways, ensure that our community theatre can and will remain here – especially at a time when many community theatres are folding.

There are continuing challenges we face in funding our programming and keeping our building in shape and comfortable for our patrons. Our annual operating expenses are approximately $12,000 (without production costs), annual production costs range from $8000 - $15,000, and our annual revenues from ticket sales range from $25,000 – $35,000. Our only additional income outside ticket sales and donations is lease money from the school district that just covers our heating/cooling/electrical costs for their use of the facility. Like many non-profit entities, we run on a very low revenue-expense margin. We are a solely volunteer-run organization; there is no paid staff. This is why those volunteer hours, material and financial donations, and support mean so much to us – they have allowed us to purchase and pay off our theatre building, expand the stage, install light and sound equipment, reupholster seats, and now, replace our roof. We will continue to meet our challenges head on. And, we will not close our doors because we believe in our mission, and like those who came before us, are buoyed on by the support of individuals in our community. 

Our mission continues to be that of providing local actors, actresses, musicians, dancers, and other artists directorship and a facility in which to perform; to provide theater education to area youth; and to increase awareness of theater arts in Spring Valley and in surrounding communities in an effort to enhance life in rural America. What this means is that we offer a place where community members of all ages and from a variety of towns (Spring Valley, Baldwin, Woodville, Menomonie, Roberts, Hammond, River Falls, Elmwood, etc.) connect and collaborate to share talents, keep the arts alive, and have fun. Beyond this, our space is used not only for theater productions put on by the Stagehands; it is also the space utilized for the Spring Valley High School’s drama productions; and every summer, for elementary-aged children’s theater classes, and for special concerts such as the community choir holiday concert and this one. In all of these ways, we view our theater as meeting humanitarian, educational, and socially relevant needs for the towns and rural areas we think of as community.

Please continue to spread the word about the Spring Valley Stagehands. Of course, we are always looking for more people to join our merry ‘band’ – we’re a really open group that loves new ideas and new voices. And, we need a variety of talents and people to do all manner of things. So let us know if you’d like to volunteer with us! And again, thank you for your support and for being an inspiration to us through your generosity.  Let it rain!