Letter to the Editor: Carthage needs a new school auditorium

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It is time for action! Carthage needs a new school auditorium.

Over the last 15 years I have watched as we have outgrown our Carthage R9 auditorium. It fails to meet our needs as a school and as a community. I keep anticipating that someone will do something about it. 

We need an up-to-date facility that can unleash creative possibilities in our people.   Our auditorium is so technically antiquated that local Carthage businesses use the Joplin High school auditorium as rental space instead of our own.  Afterschool practices create safety problems as young drivers cruise through Jr.  High walkers!  How does such a nice school district neglect such an obvious need?

The auditorium has served well for many decades. However, our school vocal music and theatre departments have grown exponentially over the last ten years, but our facilities have not.  A new theatre would enhance learning and life skills and it would bring in entertainment, shows and money to local businesses. 

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I believe a joint school/city building would produce great support and would enhance Carthage in multiple ways.  This is such a multi-faceted need with so many rich benefits. I hope you will concur and move to bring about change.  I will expand on many benefits of a new auditorium in the following pages.  Thank you for taking the time to read and consider these issues.

I am very willing to speak further on this subject and to help in any way!

Sincerely,

Patrice Sacry 

My awareness

  • Twelve years of dance shows twice yearly, utilizing all aspects of the auditorium; I know this place
  • Ten years of theatre camp ages 8-18
  • Band, theatre, and choir supporter 15 years
  • Show choir supporter 6+ years
  • CHS high school musical choreographer 3 years
  • Involvement in Maple Leaf Lip Sync, Maple Leaf Pageant, community musical and other community activities
  • Rented it for my 40th Birthday!

This is MY theatre too!

Why do we need another?

  • Time and resources wasted in daily busing of students
  • This auditorium is antiquated in all aspects
  • No place to safely store costumes, even for short term. Some of these are borrowed and rented, making this even more important.
  • There is nowhere to stand in the wings
  • Scenery gets piled in the same space where actors cram into the wings, waiting on cues. It should be hung in the fly space that a normal theatre would have. Scenery and props on which individuals or classes spent hours needs to be stored safely.
  • Junior high students are endangered as young high school drivers come to afterschool rehearsals
  • We need to have the tools to make better productions, thus developing student creativity
  • The current facility has old wiring, non-working lights and no special effects abilities

Why is our nice school district so substandard in this area?

Support of Programs

  • We have some amazing and growing programs in the art, vocal music, band, debate, and theatre departments
  • Knowing how to use and create sound and lighting is a fabulous tool for getting a job in the arts
  • We do not want to lose these talented teachers!  They have outgrown anything we have available.  They NEED the new facilities.
  • Performers have worked hard and deserve the best facility in which to be seen and heard, allowing them to perform safely and at their very best
  • A small black box theatre for rehearsals and more intimate productions
  • Need a dance room with sound and mirrors and video.  It is the only way to really learn dance and teach and correct! Think of how even body language tells who you are and how that is important when you are trying to get a job.
  • Need a costume room for storage and building.
  • Need a separate workshop area to construct props and sets, i.e., safely use and store power tools, paint and props

Why we need a large capacity theatre

  • Entire student body can be together for performances
  • Draw outside entertainers who have certain requirements before they will even consider coming
  • Community productions: so many people were turned away from our community for the Maple Leaf lip sync. We should be able to accommodate our people.
  • Housing/hosting large money-making events such as Soundfest, where thousands of students, parents, and teachers stay all day and spend money
  • Carthage businesses can also host events and/or recitals and not have to look to Joplin or Pittsburgh for a suitable location

Why we should keep the current auditorium in good repair

  • The junior high departments also need good performance space. If we have good junior high programs, think how much improved our high school people will be.
  • It is a very rentable auditorium for smaller productions, but cleanliness and repair have been an issue the last couple years
  • I would love to have more community activities available. At present, one auditorium is very booked.  Wouldn’t it be nice to come and watch a movie here? 

What our students take away

  • Ability to speak in public
  • Confidence in themselves and in their performances (they look and sound better with the right equipment and setting)
  • Possible career paths will be available as people learn to use a theatre

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