Like most non-profits – especially arts organizations – support and sustainability are the most challenging, and least seen, part of operations. The North Country Center for the Arts in Lincoln has endured since their first summer of children’s shows under a tent in 1986: not only endured, but grown into a well-respected part of the statewide theatre community.
During this 34th performance season, support has taken center stage with the Gessner Family stepping forward in the person of Jean Gessner to drive some much-needed funding, offering a Challenge Match this summer at the popular Jean’s Playhouse.
It has often been hard to make ends meet at NCCA/Jean’s despite strong community and individual support and appreciative audiences. Recognizing the need, the Gessner Family Challenge offers a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $20,000: and the drive for funding is underway. At the same time, administration and leadership at NCCA are continuing evaluation of programs and beginning to lay a foundation for future operations at the year-round facility that replaced the original “papermill” theatre.
Joel Mercier, Producing Artistic Director, came to Jean’s just about two years ago with experience from the New London Barn, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and his own NH Theatre Factory, as well as a career as an in-demand music director. “We are making positive – if slow – strides by looking at not only costs, but development strategies to start focusing on sustainability,” Mercier notes, “and this initiative by the Gessner family and others will go a long way toward getting us on track.”
Meanwhile, the shows go on, with the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Cinderella set to be followed by American theatre’s longest-running musical The Fantasticks and John Cariani’s lovely relationship play Almost, Maine. Plus Labor Day comedians and other special events. Information/schedule/tickets at 603-745-2141 and www.jeansplayhouse.com