The Perennial Theatre Company, a non-profit theater organization based out of Urbana, has been producing local theatre since 2015.
After 7 years performing at various locations, the theatre organization is seeking a permanent building to use for practices and performances.
The organization will be holding a fundraiser on January 22 to raise money for a permanent location.
“We started out with a small facility in Urbana on Patrick Avenue and since then, we have had to rent spaces around the community,” said Victoria Hurley, board member for the Perennial Theatre Company. “We have gotten to a point where we have enough people involved and enough cast members that having to rent spaces has caused issues. We have run into issues and lost our rented space due to double booking. We would really like to have our own theatre house.”
Hurley said the organization has come to an agreement with a property owner near the Urbana Fire Department. If the theatre can raise enough money, the owner will partner with them to renovate the building to become a black box theatre.
“That is what our fundraiser is about,” said Hurley. “We want to build a black box theatre here in Urbana. Once we can do that, we can start offering more shows.”
Hurley said the theatre would like to produce about 6 shows a year and offer additional classes for acting and music.
“Those are the things we want to start bringing to the community,” she said. “We want to offer theatre and classes to youth and adults. Our hope is to provide this at a very low cost. That way, anyone can afford it. As a parent, I know it can be expensive to try to do extracurricular activities for kids. If we can facilitate our own building, we are hoping the profit from our shows can be put back into the community by offering really low-cost classes. We can really open up Urbana’s rich history in the liberal arts. Theatre is one of those things that can enrich a society very much.”
Hurley said local businesses and restaurants have benefited from publicity from previous shows held in Urbana.
“When the theatre performed at the Gloria, a lot of restaurant owners were really excited because they completely booked up those nights,” she said. “It can really bring something to the community and with all the renovations that are going on with the downtown district, I think this will help elevate the community.”
The Perennial Theatre Company will be holding a dinner Cabaret event on January 22 at 7 p.m. at the Cheetah Lounge in Urbana. Tickets cost $35 cash at the door and doors open at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds will go towards a new black box theatre in Urbana. Menu and auction items can be found on the theatre website: www.perennialtheatre.org. There is an active Go Fund Me page that can be found on the Perennial Theatre Facebook page.