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Wilton

Andy’s sets $30K fundraising goal

Children’s theater looks to renovate, expand with show in neighboring towns

  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.

    Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.

    Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.

    Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.

    Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Andy's Summer Playhouse in Wilton has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $30,000 to provide for a touring season, new seats for the Playhouse theater and an expansion of Andy's backstage apprenticeship opportunities.

WILTON — With winter fast approaching, summer seems a long way off. But for the staff at Andy’s Summer Playhouse, a children’s summer theater program in Wilton, it’s the time of year they begin efforts to help fund the coming season. And this year, they have a goal of $30,000 to fund a list of capital improvements and program expansions planned for the 2014 season.

Andy’s Summer Playhouse in Wilton has spent the last four years bolstering their program, which began shrinking a few years ago, said Alexandra Urbanowski, the fundraising and management counsel for Andy’s. Six years ago, the children’s theater program had to stop its touring program, downsizing from producing four plays a year to three, and limiting their venue to Andy’s main stage in Wilton. But now, after several years of concentrated effort to bring up the number of participants, Andy’s is ready to go back to its full program, said Urbanowski.

“We want to reach more communities,” said Urbanowski. “We want to go out to the communities that all of our kids come from. We want our kids to get to perform in their hometowns. And we want to give them the opportunity to experience Andy’s.”

Because part of the goal of the touring program is to expand Andy’s reach, and show a wider range of audiences what the children can do, the fundraising goal was set at $30,000 in order to raise enough to allow the touring show to be free for attendees, said Urbanowski.

The touring program also allows Andy’s to accommodate more children, said Urbanowski, since it’s made up of its own independent cast of kids who will travel around to between five and six towns, armed with a minimalist set and costumes. For the last couple of years, Andy’s has been operating with a full cast, and this will allow an extra 15 children to participate, Urbanowski noted Providing that this year’s tour efforts prove successful, Urbanowski said the plan is to expand it even further next year, to allow the children to perform in more towns. Like all of Andy’s shows, the additional performance will be a play written for that season of Andy’s, and will be a world premier of the piece.

It won’t just be the kids who want to be in the spotlight benefiting from this year’s campaign though. Another goal is to expand the program’s apprenticeship opportunities for those kids who would prefer to be behind the scenes, helping with sets, props and costuming. Currently, those endeavors take place outside under a movable tent, explained Urbanowski, which sometimes run into weather and space limitations. A portion of this year’s fundraiser will go toward building a shed to allow the building and storage of props and set pieces.

“I think that’s one of the really unique things that Andy’s does,” said Urbanowski. “Providing backstage and well as onstage opportunities.”

Andy’s home base, its theater in Wilton, will also see some upgrades with the funds. The main target will be the theater’s seating, said Urbanowski. Currently the seating is fixed, which doesn’t always allow room for creative staging, she said. Being able to move the seating will also allow Andy’s to create better sightlines depending upon the staging of each show, and to add additional seating if a performance calls for it, she added.

“It’s old and past due for an update,” said Urbanowski of the seating at the theater.

Donations will also go towards making a $9,000 match for a $3,000 grant from the Cogwell Benevolent Trust, received by Andy’s this year, to go towards their anticipated improvements.

As part of their preseason fundraising, Andy’s Summer Playhouse will announce its 2014 season on Dec. 28 at the Monadnock Country Club, during its annual Andy’s Summer Playhouse Winter Gala. Traditionally, the gala includes skits by Andy’s participants and trailer previews of all four Andy’s performances, one of which is traditionally a musical. Donations can also be sent to P.O. Box 601 in Wilton. For more information or to purchase tickets, vistit andyswintergala2013.eventbrite.com.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on twitter @AshleySaari..

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