Morrow Little Theatre seeks home

By Anthony Conchel - The Sentinel

Cast and crew of Beauty and the Beast from July.

Cast and crew of Beauty and the Beast from July.

Courtesy Photo | LeAnne Gompf

MOUNT GILEAD — The Morrow Little Theatre needs a new home.

The theater company was formed in 2010 by Joey Powell and Ken Barnett with what would become its signature event, Christmas in the Village. In March 2016 MLT moved to 102 E. Main St., Cardington.

After 18 months, the group had simply outgrown that space, and the Cardington Improvement Corporation needed to sell the building.

“We could only sit 50 to 55 people per night,” said Powell, president of MLT. Finding a suitable, larger home is the group’s goal.

The last show held at that venue was Nunsense in October. Shortly after that show, the group left the building. Costumes and equipment were put in storage.

“Theater requires a lot of building materials. We have set pieces in storage in my dad’s barn,” said Jamie Brucker, MLT vice president.

Morrow Little Theatre is looking at options within the county for its new location. The group has its own sound and lighting systems.

“We need a space we can call our own and we can make theater happen,” Powell said. “We want to be self-sustainable and keep ticket prices low so people can afford to come. But we’re not afraid of a building that needs work.”

Ideally, a community building that could house both a theater and meeting rooms would suit Morrow Little Theatre’s vision.

“We would love to have a place that seats 100 to 150 people, with rooms where groups like Bible studies or the mother’s club could meet. It’s a truly community effort,” Brucker said.

The group is almost all volunteer, occasionally paying a guest director or a pianist. Earlier this year it became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

“We have people help with set design, set up, the show itself and even those who donate their time to take tickets for us,” he said.

Doing summer workshops for children is another goal. Workshops would teach students from ages 7-8 and older how a show is staged, to directing, lighting, sound and set design.

“The workshops would allow us to share our passion for theater and open the door for children,” Powell said.

The group wants to continue to do a Christmas show and a summer musical, and hopefully two other performances each year on a seasonal schedule.

The theater group is partnering with Mount Gilead Schools on a murder mystery in February or March as a fundraiser.

“They will host it and they do a great job serving meals, and we will do the entertainment,” Powell said.

Continuing that partnership, they are doing the set for the spring musical, “The Addams Family,” at the high school and helping with the technical aspects of the performance of “Willy Wonka Jr.” at the elementary school.

Plans call for Morrow Little Theatre to do “Annie” next July at a location to be determined.

The theater stage attracts a diverse group of performers.

“We have had those as young as six and those 70-plus in production. People from every background — health care, teachers, a barista. You name it,” Powell said.

He said staying financially solvent remains a challenge as MLT relies solely on sponsorships and ticket sales.

“We’ve done what most community theaters do and that’s beg, plead and borrow for everything we’ve had. We’re thankful for the support of the community and we are excited to see future opportunities for us.”

Cast and crew of Beauty and the Beast from July. and crew of Beauty and the Beast from July. Courtesy Photo | LeAnne Gompf

By Anthony Conchel

The Sentinel