Dear friends,

During this time of separation, one thing that has become especially clear to us is the value of our relationship with our community. Even while facing your own personal challenges as a result of this crisis, you have been incredibly gracious to us with your heartwarming notes, emails, conversations online during virtual programming, and donations.

How We’re Doing:
In answer to the many questions we have been steadily receiving, here are a few key updates:

  • Yes, we are taking a serious financial hit as a result of having to close and postpone several productions and our 2020 summer theatre camps. The cancellation means GREAT Theatre will suffer a loss of more than $870,000 in earned revenue.
  • Yes, we are applying for every loan, grant and benefit we can possibly access.
  • No, these sources will not cover all of our lost revenue. The path to recovery will be extensive. But, for now, we are optimistic that we will be here to bring the community together for shared theater experiences for many years to come.

We have had to temporarily furlough 6 of our staff, and have scaled back the hours and wages for the remaining 6 staff to ensure we remain a presence in our community and to take care of our home, the Helgeson Learning Lab Theatre. This is an incredibly difficult decision to work through, but it is the right decision to ensure we have as many financial resources as possible for our future when our critical mission work can fully resume. 

Next steps:
Our leadership team, in partnership with our dedicated twelve member board of directors, is deeply focused on exploring all potential solutions to ensure our long-term financial well-being as well as the safety of our volunteers, participants, and audiences for when we are able to gather again. We’re also actively developing a variety of virtual theatre experiences to continue to meet our community’s immediate needs while giving thoughtful consideration to how these experiences will support and enhance future live programming, allowing us to better live our mission.

Ultimately when we come through this, what’s going to make us healthy isn’t only the vaccines and the antivirals, but art too. It’s the thing that’s going to bring us together and help us heal. And GREAT will be ready the minute we are safely able to bring this community together onstage, in classrooms, and in the audience.

Dennis Whipple, Executive Director
Lacey Schirmers, Managing Director
Kendra Norton-Dando, Education Director
Colin Jarrell, Technical Director



Today’s needs are to stabilize GREAT at this critical time to ensure we can serve our community now and for generations to come.  This includes looking at a variety of financial models and exploring all practical ways to replace lost revenue, transitioning staff to work from home as able, remaining engaged with volunteers and donors, meeting our community’s needs, and the launch of education programming in the virtual lab. 

Tomorrow’s dreams are the work we are doing now to explore what being GREATer looks like for our community in the future. The mission is to strengthen the organization by working on projects that have longer-term benefits and can help us emerge from this moment stronger. 

We hope that you will consider making a gift for Today’s Needs, Tomorrow’s Dreams.

You support will stabilize GREAT at this critical time and ensure we can serve our community now and for generations to come.

Donate Now

Please note: New tax rules in the stimulus plan make your donation easier to deduct. Even if you do not itemize you can deduct a gift of up to $300.00 for individuals and $600 for couples.



Though we cannot physically share space at this time, we are finding new and creative ways to bridge the gap between now and whenever we can gather again. We are here for our artists. We are here for our community. We are here for you. 

  • COMMUNITY NEEDS We are busy responding to our community’s needs – from sewing health care masks and caps to developing virtual readers theatre classes and adapting in person workshops that teach social and emotional skills to be delivered virtually.
  • THE VIRTUAL LAB  Digital initiatives intended to keep the flame of the theater alive bringing our artists together with local students, our volunteer artists and you. Learn more here.



If you have tickets for one of the cancelled shows we ask that you please consider donating them back to GREAT Theatre. We’ve been working through show by show, sending emails to ticket holders this past week to accommodate ticket plans. If you are a ticket holder for one of these performances and missed our email, please see the below for how to handle your ticket request for each show. 

  • Ahoy Dinner Theatre: we’ve created this online form that you can fill out so that we know how we can best accommodate your ticket plans. 
  • Mamma Mia: Performances of Mamma Mia will be postponed to Sept. 4-20, 2020 at the Paramount Center for the Arts replacing the planned production of Guys & DollsTickets have been exchanged for the same seats reserved in April on the new date in September as indicated here
  • Our Town: Cancelled. We’ve created this online form that you can fill out so that we know how we can best accommodate your ticket plans. 
  • Guys and Dolls: Cancelled. We’ve created this online form that you can fill out so that we know how we can best accommodate your ticket plans.
  • Every Brilliant Thing: Postponed. Dates are to be determined. Your tickets will be exchanged for the same seats on the new dates.  
  • The Laramie Project: Postponed. Dates are to be determined. Your tickets will be exchanged for the new dates. 



Given the unpredictability of this rapidly changing situation, the recommendations from the government and CDC, our community partners, and over 350 camp families, we have made the heart-wrenching and difficult decision to cancel our 2020 summer theatre camps. We deeply understand the disappointment and sense of loss as we feel it, too, but recognize this is the responsible decision to ensure the health and well-being of our kids, our community and our staff. In addition, GREAT will bear significant financial losses and will need your help to ensure GREAT can come back even stronger for your kids and our community in 2021.

If you were registered for 2020 summer theatre camps, will you consider donating a portion or all of your 2020 camp registration back to GREAT? Please complete this online form by May 30 to let us know your wishes on how you would like your registration handled, including an option for a refund. Every amount donated will make a big impact.


20/21 SEASON

GREAT staff and artists are designing, planning and working everyday to create an extraordinary 20/21 season of family entertainment.  The arts will be needed more than ever, to bring our community together and keep us connected. Now is the time to get the best seats at the best prices and we’ve extended our early bird special. Guarantee your tickets now HERE.



All GREAT staff are working remotely from our homes so reaching out via email is the best way to communicate


Together, we will survive this. We dream that when we are again able to bring the community together for shared theater experiences, we will be even GREATer for you. Thank you for making GREAT your community theatre.