Wheaton Drama was the grateful recipient of a Community Needs Grant from the DuPage Foundation in December, 2020. The grant will provide funds for the purchase of a new $10,000 headset communication system for the theatre. Five new headsets, base, battery packs, and belt kits will update the theatre’s old, and sometimes faltering, backstage communications network. The equipment is critical to the success of any show, but with the ambition of the theatre’s calendar when it can safely reopen, having reliable, state-of-the art communications technology means a season of big musicals and dramas, often with 20+ cast members, 10+ crew, and a live orchestra, can be managed behind the scenes without a hitch.
“Our headsets are the batons from which our stage managers conduct the show, communicating cues to actors, lights, sound, music, and crew. Without them, we might be literally playing in the dark,” says Elyse Willis, one of Wheaton Drama’s frequent stage managers, and a key advocate for applying for the Community Needs Grant. “It’s not just about ensuring the show runs smoothly. It’s about the safety of our actors, crew and guests. When the lights go out, it’s our direction over the headsets that makes sure everyone knows what’s happening, and when, so that no one gets hurt. We’ve known that our equipment needed upgrading, but with the COVID shutdown, we weren’t sure we’d be able to afford to do it. I suggested we reach out to the DuPage Foundation for help.”
While the theatre is currently dark due to COVID restrictions, a big season is planned for when the theatre can reopen, and with new equipment Wheaton Drama will be ready. “We’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so when we can reopen, we’ll reopen with a bang,” says Julie Kanturek, president of Wheaton Drama. “We were crushed when a very exciting season was derailed by the pandemic. But we’ve spent our downtime wisely, planning for a great return – not just for our patrons, but for our volunteer actors and crew that are chomping at the bit to reengage our community with quality theatre, and bring back some joy. While I can’t yet reveal our season, suffice to say we’ve got some big shows on the horizon. Knowing our crew’s communication equipment will be up to the task is a great relief. We’re so grateful for the gift from the DuPage Foundation to make this possible.”
About Wheaton Drama
Wheaton Drama is a volunteer-led, nonprofit community theatre, located at 111 N. Hale St, in Wheaton, Illinois. Officially founded in 1931, it is one of Illinois’ oldest, continuously running community theatres. Our 170+ seat theatre is home to five to seven productions each season – from musicals, to drama, comedy and cabaret. We welcome new members to join our group, be they actors, directors, stage crew, production managers, musical directors, choreographers, and people who simply enjoy being a part of the theatre. More information can be found at www.wheatondrama.org.
About DuPage Foundation
DuPage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) community foundation, is the philanthropic leader in DuPage County, Illinois. DuPage Foundation manages more than $95 million in assets and has awarded more than $55 million in grants to not-for-profit organizations serving the residents of DuPage County and beyond since its founding in 1986. Individuals and organizations seeking to provide impactful support in DuPage County to address critical issues can create powerful, customizable gift solutions and partnerships through DuPage Foundation. More at dupagefoundation.org. Doing a world of good in our own backyard.™