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Bonham Theatre Project Groundbreaking Ceremony, Fairbury Nebraska

Bonham Theatre Project Groundbreaking Ceremony

Thank you all who attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bonham Theatre Project on June 27, 2016. The BTP board has volunteered thousands of hours to reopen the Bonham Theatre; we are doing everything in our power to be successful. We thank the many persons who have supported the project by volunteering, by donating, and by being positive advocates for our work. We ask everyone to consider joining the effort!


Here is an update on the project as of May 31, 2016:

    • Net income Oct. 2012-May 2016/funds available to complete Phase 1:
      • Donations (individuals and businesses) $353,029
      • Grants (awarded and received) 81,956
      • Net fundraising activities 29,983
      • Memberships ($25 annual dues) 5,675
      • Miscellaneous (Coop pat. div., sale of scrap) 754

Total income $471,397

    • Purchase of building and equipment 24,734
      • Architect 88,161
      • Construction Manager 5,000
      • Project Manager 36,250
      • Business plan and market survey 6,198
      • IRS 501(c)(3) determination 850
      • Utilities 5,419
      • Insurance 1,129
      • RE taxes 1,932
      • Other (office supplies, postage, fees, dues, adv., maint.) 6,933

Total expenses $176,606Cash on hand at May 31, 2016 $294,791 Grants (awarded and outstanding) 336,000
Total available to complete Phase 1 $630,791

    • Estimated cost to complete Phase 1:
      • Estimated building renovation and marquee $573,043
      • Architect & Engineering 23,360
      • Project Manager 28,750

      Estimated cost to complete Phase 1 $625,153
      As construction contracts are awarded, the board is prepared to make adjustments, if needed, to contain the costs to available funds.

      When bids were let in June 2015 the total estimated cost for the renovation was $905,554. We are able to lower the total estimated costs substantially by acting as our own general contractor and by hiring a project manager to review the project with a contractor’s eye, thus eliminating over-engineered costs and duplications.

    • Estimated total cost of Phase 1:
      • Estimated building renovation and marquee $573,043
      • Architect & Engineering $23,360 payable) 111,521
      • Construction Manager 5,000
      • Project Manager ($36,250 paid, $28,750 payable) 65,000

      Estimated total cost of Phase 1 $754,564

    • =======

    • Grants awarded to BTP and received by May 31, 2016 (included in net income):
      • The Sherwood Foundation (marketing survey) $ 3,706
      • The Sherwood Foundation (renovation) 50,000
      • Norris Goodwill Fund (popcorn machine) 1,500
      • Walmart 1,750
      • TransCanada 25,000

      Total grants received $ 81,956

    • =======

  • Grants awarded to BTP and receivable as of May 31, 2016:
    • Fairbury Downtown Design Challenge $ 6,000
    • UP Foundation 20,000
    • NE Dept. of Economic Development (CDBG) 210,000
    • Peter Kiewit Foundation 100,000

    Total grants receivable $336,000

Formal recognition of all donors will be published at a later date. All donors will be acknowledged on our recognition wall or a seat nameplate.The numbers above only apply to reopening the street level auditorium for movies, without seats. Nor do they include the cost of a retractable screen for live performances or reopening the upstairs theatre. Future fundraising will address those phases of the project.

BTP still needs the community’s help in raising funds to update the theatre seats in the main auditorium; thus, a “Chair-ity” campaign is in progress. For a contribution of $250 the donor’s name will be permanently attached to a seat. In addition, we are calling all artists (professional and amateur) to pick up an old seat and reinvent it (creativity encouraged).

The seats will be on display for the September First Friday Art Walk. Ultimately, the seats will be auctioned to supplement the “Chair-ity” campaign.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss the project with anyone. I can be reached at 402-446-7436, 402-300-7146 or


Deborah Ebke
Treasurer BTP

Bonham Theatre, Fairbury Nebraska

Bonham Theatre Project Hires Construction Supervisor/Project Manager

Bonham Theatre Project has taken another step forward in reopening the downtown theater with the hiring of a construction supervisor/ project manager.  Fairbury native and alum Randy Fisbeck assumed this position last week.

Fisbeck will coordinate all work with the building’s architect and consultants, managing all volunteers and contractors on site during the Phase 1 work. This phase will include the renovation of the lobby, restrooms area and the main floor theatre. Fisbeck brings a total of 13 years of project management and general contracting building custom homes that range from 1,200 square-foot to 7,200 square-foot and light commercial projects, including a day care, office buildings, high-rise condos, and apartments.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to work on a project like the Bonham Theatre, especially in my hometown of Fairbury and I look forward to working with the great people who have put so much time and effort into the project already. The theatre truly is a staple of the community that I grew up in and I personally can’t wait for it to be operational again,” Fisbeck said.

Board President Brooke Schwab said the BTP Board is very excited about this appointment.

“We are looking forward to having an expert in construction as part of our team. We hope that not only will this help move the project forward but also help us get more bang for our buck. Randy has already started looking for way to help us save,” Schwab said.

BTP members continue to look for additional fundraising opportunities. The group will help with the 3rd Annual Blues Festival Jan. 23 at Stagecoach Mall with a portion of the proceeds going to BTP. Tickets can be purchased for $35 from any board member or a link to ticket sales can also be found on A number of talented blues bands and musicians will perform at the event. The ticket price includes a BBQ meal cooked by Totally Smoked BBQ and all entertainment costs.

BTP will hold its annual membership meeting on Sunday, Jan. 24 at the American Lutheran Church at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend and current members are e

2016 Blues Festival To Benefit Bonham Theatre Project, Fairbury Nebraska

2016 Blues Festival To Benefit Bonham Theatre Project

The 3rd annual Winter Blues Festival is scheduled for Saturday, January 23rd, in The Tasting Room, inside Stagecoach Mall in downtown Fairbury. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., festival will start at 4 p.m. and feature several blues acts, a cash bar and BBQ ribs with all the fixin’s. The festival is co-sponsored by and Totally Smoked BBQ.

This year’s blues festival will feature musicians who regularly play blues shows around the region. Taking the stage at 4 p.m., Howlin’ Steve Howell is a blues and American folk singer/songwriter from Oregon and comes to Fairbury by way of the blues clubs in Kansas City. Howell has shared the stage with greats such as the Kinsey Report, Tommy Castro, and Carl Weathersby. For years Howell traveled with his band “The Soulshakers” and also played with Fat Cat Freddy. Now a solo artist, Howell is returning to Fairbury as singer/songwriter, playing guitar.

The 5 p.m. time slot will feature Enigma, the ultimate acoustic duo, who will be returning to their blues roots for the festival. Enigma’s soulful delivery and broad appeal makes them a crowd favorite.

At 7 p.m., “Lil’ Slim” Shawn Holt will take the stage, joined by Jared Alberico, John “Honeyboy” Turner, Jeff Boehmer, and Ryan Larson, all of Lincoln.

Holt is the son of Blues Legend Magic Slim. He started playing the blues at the age of 17, when he went on the road with this father and Slim’s brother, Uncle Nick Holt and the award winning band, The Teardrops. Shawn is now following in the footsteps of his father, having toured the globe as Holt and The Teardrops, winning awards including “Best New Artist Debut” for hit song, “Daddy Told Me” on Blind Pig Records.

Alberico aka “Super Blues Party” has been playing the blues, both as a solo artist and in various groups for many years. Jared has shared with stage with great blues musicians such as Magic Slim, Lil’ Slim, and plays in groups including The Blues Teachers.

John “Honeyboy” Turner has been delivering Chicago-style blues to hundreds of clubs and venues in Lincoln, Omaha and throughout the Midwest. In 1995, the Honeyboy Turner Band released their first full-length album, “Preachin’ The Blues”  and has been featured on nationally-syndicated radio programs.

Jeff Boehmer and Ryan Larson are former members of Shawn Holt’s first band the Back Alley Blues Band. Boehmer is co-owner of the legendary Zoo Bar in Lincoln and Larson owns Roots Music in Lincoln.

Tickets for the festival are $35 per person, with proceeds benefitting the Bonham Theatre Project, whose mission is to renovate and reopen the historic theatre in downtown Fairbury as a movie house and entertainment venue.

A limited number of tickets are available online at or at the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce, Starr-Buckow Insurance and Stagecoach Mall Antiques in Fairbury, and from Bonham Theatre Project board members.

For more information, visit or call 402.613.2064