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Peoples Bank Theatre meets fundraising goal

From left, Todd Burge, Jess Baldwin and Larry Groce perform in the final #100daysfor100years livestream event at the Peoples Bank Theatre to raise funds during the coronavirus shutdown. (Photo provided by Todd Burge)

MARIETTA — Representatives of the Peoples Bank Theatre have a reason to be enthusiastic.

The #100daysfor100years fundraising campaign has helped raise money during the shutdown caused by the pandemic and the state has eased restrictions on entertainment venues, raising the maximum capacity to 15 percent.

“When we started the campaign focusing on 100 days for 100 years, we thought we might be back in the theater in 100 days,” said Todd Burge, who performed in the campaign’s final live stream stage show on Aug. 1 and books acts for the theater as its artistic director.

“But this is our first pandemic, so now that it’s been more than 100 days it still is something to celebrate that the campaign helped fill the gap,” he said.

The #100daysfor100years campaign included eight performances between June 13 and Aug. 1 that were livestreamed with the online push to donate through Paypal.

“People do get inspired by clear numbers and want to help you reach a goal,” Burge said.

The goal was $100,000 in 100 days. The theater reached $107,000, surpassing the goal on the final night.

More than $12,000 in donations were received on Aug. 1 and Par Mar Stores pledged $50,000 at the conclusion of the final show.

“It was a super awesome way to end the series with the pledge from Par Mar Stores pushing us over the $100,000-mark,” Hunt Brawley, executive director, said.

“Overall we brought in right around 100 donors between individual donations and sponsorships. We did have a significant amount of smaller gifts by people using PayPal and then the sponsorships of $1,000-$5,000 and really helped us get through this hard period.”

For the final night, Burge was in front of the camera with Larry Groce and Jess Baldwin performing songs and watching the donations mount.

“There were a lot of people that gave that night throughout the show, too,” he said. “During the show we brought in more than $12,000 online during the hour.”

On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Health released a new health order concerning entertainment venues raising capacity allowed from zero to 15 percent of seats filled.

But Brawley said lightened restrictions are still nearly cost-prohibitive to the small theater.

“That’s just under 140 seats so other than a very high-end party that’s not going to get us much,” said Brawley.

So for now, the venue is in a holding pattern for inside, while seeking to aid outdoor partners in the community.

“We’re looking at a bunch of different possibilities, one is taking artists’ livestreams that have appeared on our stage and packaging some of those (for a re-show), or combining those with new artists,” said Brawley.

“But that’s speculation at this point.”

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