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Stage Left Players rewarded with 3K grant for youth shows

LISBON – The Stage Left Players Theater has received state funding for the second year in a row, and is on track to be eligible for even more in the coming years

The Lisbon theater was one of only two recipients in Columbiana County to be awarded an Ohio Arts Council grant, and the $3,413 in funding will go toward the cost of producing three youth shows.

The other grant was awarded to Kate McMahon of Homeworth, who applied for the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship.

McMahon will receive $3,539 to cover the cost of the apprenticeship in Appalachian hand weaving with apprentice Priscilla Roggenkamp. The two will meet weekly for a minimum of two-hour session for one year through the program.

The more than $6,900 in funding for the two recipients in the county was part of 64 grants the council awarded to recipients in eastern Ohio, according to an Ohio Arts Council press release.

The 15-member council approved the grants during its July meeting, and the local grants are two of more than $12 million awarded to support Ohio artists, organizations, students, educators and public arts programming during its initial and major fiscal year 2018 funding round, according to the release.

Grant recipients in the eastern region of Ohio include artists and arts organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull counties.

Stage Left volunteer, director and author Kandy Cleland said the theater was contacted by the council to apply for grants.

“They actually sought us out because they saw the work we were doing through the website,” she said.

The non-profit organization received $10,000 in 2016 for its summer youth program through the council’s fund every county initiative.

Cleland said she attended a grant writing workshop and during the application process learned that the theater was rated very highly.

“I was really proud … there were groups like Ohio University and big organizations that were a lot bigger than ours that were applying,” she said.

Some of the criteria for ratings are based on the amount of feedback from the audience, financial record keeping, and proof of abiding by the organization’s mission.

“It makes you articulate what it is your organization is trying to do. Are we really living up to our mission of providing theatrical arts opportunities for men, women and children as performers and designers, and are we challenging our community to experience theater?” Cleland said.

The theater is apparently doing just that, since the council has deemed it worthy of receiving funding this year.

SLP has a long history in the village, with this year marking its 25th season.

The council grant will fund the cost of producing “Where’s Rudolph?” a children’s play with an anti-bullying message written by the organization and scheduled for Nov. 17-19; “Aladdin Junior,” a youth musical scheduled for Jan. 12-14 and 19-21; and “Snap the Whip,” another original play scheduled for May 18-20.

“We are really thrilled to have the Ohio Arts Council support us,” Cleland said.

More information can be found online at oac.ohio.gov.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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