Arts & Culture

Discover All Things Regional in Central PA’s art and culture scene. Join hosts Cary Burkett and Joe Ulrich as they make artistic discoveries throughout the midstate. From music and visual arts to theatre, museums, literature and more! Listen every Wednesday and Friday on witf 89.5 and 93.3 for features highlighting the best and brightest cultural happenings in the region.

Totem Pole Playhouse Saved

Written by Cary Burkett, Arts & Culture Desk and WITF Host | Nov 1, 2012 4:52 PM

Totem Pole Playhouse has been providing professional summer theater to the region since 1950. It is only one of around ten summer stock theaters in the company operating with an agreement with Actors Equity union. But in August it looked as if the long-running theater might have to close its doors.


In an ailing economy, the theater had begun producing smaller, less expensive productions. But the smaller, lesser-known shows were unable to draw significant audiences. Faced with a significant shortfall, the Playhouse found itself needing to raise $250,000 in little over a month’s time in order to ensure the next season.

After launching a “save the theater” campaign, Totem Pole managed to garner community support to raise $334,000 from throughout the region and beyond. The funds will allow the theater to produce a season full of the larger, more popular style shows which tend to draw bigger audiences. Next summer Totem Pole Playhouse will offer a seven-show season for the first time in over 40 years.

Other live theatres have also faced financial difficulty. Ephrata Performing Arts Center is among those struggling to find a way to meet those challenges. EPAC is one of many organizations soliciting donations through the Extrordinary Give event being sponsored by the Lancaster County Community Foundation. Donors will have an opportunity on November 30 to support their chosen organization with a contribution, which will enable that organization to receive an additional portion of a $250,000 contribution from the Foundation.

Below you can hear our audio feature on Totem Pole Playhouse and EPAC.

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