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The journey to bring a historic theatre back to the community

Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 26, 2021

MAGIC VALLEY — Just like everything else, COVID-19 has halted fundraising initiatives to renovate the Schubert Theatre in Gooding, a historic theatre that has been in the community for more than 100 years.

But a former owner of the theatre along with other community members are hoping to bring it back to the community.

“They want to come back and go to the movies. They hear their grandma and their grandpa talk about it and how much fun they had throwing popcorn off the balcony," Charmy LeaVell, President of GREAT Inc., said.

But it's not going to be an easy project. The renovations to reopen the Schubert Theatre's doors could cost a couple of million dollars.

“We really need funders. Outside people that are willing to donate funds for this historic project," LeaVell said.

But the main obstacle they are facing is COVID-19. With social distancing guidelines in place, they have not been able to host any fundraising events.

“Oh my goodness it has affected us greatly," LeaVell said.

Without the fundraising events, the theatre has not been able to receive as many donations as they had hoped for. They say this has particularly hurt them because of matching grants they received, especially a $10,000 grant from The Idaho Heritage Trust.

“We’ve reached a point where our little community fundraisers have kind of kept the lights paid and the doors open basically, but we’re getting to a point where we have to have some more substantial funds to go forth with it," Michael Anderson, Vice President of GREAT Inc., said.

The project could take years before it is completed. The board of directors has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on renovations like adding a new roof, but they say they still need a lot more.

“I’d like to have it open tomorrow. Two years from now I hope we got a really good start on it, it all depends on the almighty dollar," Anderson said.

Charmy and Michael say they hope to bring the feeling of going to the theatre back to the community, a feeling they say is special to them.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be on stage with one of my family members before just in a little local community play. That brings me great excitement and great thrill and that’s something we have to travel away now to get," Anderson said.

“My dream and my goal before I pass away is to be able to have the Christmas tree festival and the nutcracker suite right there on that stage," LeaVell said.

If you would like to donate to the theatre you can visit their Facebook page for more information.

Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 433 Gooding, ID 83330.