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Bonham Theatre Project Moves Into Acquisition Phase, Fairbury NebraskaBonham Theatre Project Moves
Into Acquisition Phase

November 2012 - Here's the scene. The crew stands in place. The set and the lighting glow in readiness. The actors wait on their marks. Finally, the director yells "Action."  

For the Bonham Theatre Project, the curtain has risen and the players stand ready as the group kicks off its campaign to first acquire the building and then move on to getting it back in operation.

The "Acquisition Phase" for the project took off Sunday following the weekly meeting of its board of directors. The urgency of this fundraising effort increased with the announcement and appearance of legal notices in last week's Fairbury Journal-News about the upcoming property auction for the Bonham building and contents on Jan. 4, 2013. "Our group has been meeting since August with the purpose of saving the Bonham Theatre and getting in back in operation. Over the course of the weeks, we have laid the groundwork by doing the paperwork to establish a 501(c)(3) status (non-profit) for the project, getting the Federal Identification Number to open a checking account, and creating an initial membership drive. The goal was always to put fundraising plans in place to move forward with the project and we were almost ready to roll with this, but the auction notice forced us to speed up the process a little," Diane Schutt, president said. All donations made to the project are tax deductible, Schutt said.

The Bonham Theatre Project group established its mission statement recently and is creating a mix of publicity materials for the public with help from board member Julie Katz. "The mission statement the group adopted is very straight forward and embodies the wishes of the board and members of the community, specifically addressing not only the operation of the movie theatre itself, but preserving and maintaining the historic integrity of the building that has housed the theatre since 1926," Katz said. "The mission of the Bonham Theatre Project is to acquire, rehabilitate and reopen the historic Bonham Theatre as a movie, arts and entertainment center in downtown Fairbury."

BTP welcomes donations of any size for the acquisition phase and already had several fundraising events planned before the property auction was announced. Members will be distributing information and asking for donations and pledges on Wednesday night of this week at Wally's Sports Bar and Chuckles Bar and in The Tasting Room in the Stagecoach Mall on Friday during a wine tasting event. "We thought this might be a good time to catch a lot of the Fairbury alumni when they come home for Thanksgiving," treasurer Debby Ebke said. The group also will also set up a table at the Alumni Basketball Tournament over the holiday break to solicit memberships and donations.

Other events planned include participation in the Kiwanis' annual soup luncheon Dec. 2, at the American Legion Hall during the Christmas Open House sponsored by the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce. The Kiwanis have pledged to donate a portion of the profits to the theatre project. The Bonham Theatre Project will also have a tree at the Festival of Trees with pledge forms and information. A 50/50 raffle is slated for the Fairbury High School's first home basketball game on Dec. 4. Identifying contributors with some type of recognition wall inside the theatre is also in the works as future renovations occur at the Bonham.

Time is of the essence for the members of the Bonham Theatre Project to pull together the funds to acquire the building and its contents. After weeks of discussions, planning and logistics decisions, it all comes down to being able to make the purchase.

According to Schutt, this is it. "I would say if we want to be able to open the doors of the Bonham again, now is the time to make a commitment so we can move on to the other needs for the building. Most people involved in the project hear a lot of support from people in the area. Now it is time to let your checkbooks do some talking as well. Otherwise, it may well be curtains for the Bonham," Schutt said.

To become a member of the Bonham Theatre Project, to make a pledge or get more information, log onto to www.BonhamTheatreProject.org or call Debby Ebke at 402.300.7146 or Brooke Schwab at 402.587.0683.

 
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