Support a Gem of Our Community - the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre

The Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre (BDACT) is a rare gem in Beaver Dam – and it is exciting to see the rejuvenation of this inspiring organization in the form of a new building that will be called the BDACT Fine Arts Center when it opens this fall.

BDACT made an impression on me even before I became a Beaver Dam resident. In the summer of 1995, my husband, Ken, and I were deciding where to relocate our family. I vividly remember attending a BDACT performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. When sitting in the audience enjoying the magic and talent of the actors, young and old, experienced and new to their craft, I started to visualize our family joining the Beaver Dam community. I was impressed by the Theatre – profoundly by its inclusivity – and understood just how special this city is, and I knew we would all be welcome here.

There are many, many people who have put in countless hours to make the new facility come to life. One of those individuals is Board President Scott Eberle, and he recently shared more of the history as well as the facts and figures of this project with me. Impressive from the start, BDACT was founded in 1964 and settled into its first permanent home in the 1980s (the present Spring Street location).

This fall, it will move to a more accommodating facility at 117 Maple Avenue, remaining in Beaver Dam’s downtown area that has revitalization efforts in progress. Concerns about the building’s accessibility for people with physical challenges prompted the move. With so many senior theatre patrons, BDACT decided in the mid-2000s to look to the future and find a new building to meet all the needs of its patrons and the community.

I think it is fair to say all of Beaver Dam is excited about the new BDACT building because it:

  • Has an elevator
  • Seats 350 in the main theatre
  • Uses up-to-date technology
  • Is completely accessible to people of all physical abilities
  • Features multi-purpose spaces, rehearsal, and meeting rooms for both theatre and community use
  • Provides improved parking

Once in its new location, BDACT also plans to expand the children’s theatre and educational opportunities. And it will welcome new touring acts in addition to its already extensive range of wonderful productions that mesmerize over 10,000 visitors each year.

Mayor Glewen has articulated the significance of the new facility for Beaver Dam and stated that the new center will have a “huge economic impact on the downtown and is important to the overall cultural health of our community.” (Daily Citizen, 11/20/17) And it is true: BDACT is important in helping downtown Beaver Dam become a more vibrant destination, as it serves as a much-needed cultural anchor.

There is, however, a financial responsibility that comes with this project. While most community theatres do not own their facility, BDACT committed to purchase the new building without loans. To meet the total projected cost, it must achieve a funding goal of $2.9M from private donors – and the campaign currently only has $2.6M in pledges.

With the first show in the new space planned for November, time is running short to achieve the funding goal. With just two paid staff members and 1,000 annual dedicated volunteers, BDACT is a historic community venture that deserves all of our help. All gift sizes are needed and welcome, and arrangements are very flexible. Explore the options to get involved at www.bdact.org

There are many ways to support BDACT – ranging from attending performances (and bringing your friends and family with you!), to pledging any amount of money to help finish the funding drive on a high note. There are also opportunities to sponsor productions - Beaver Dam Women’s Health is a proud patron and sponsor of July’s We Are Monsters, designed for younger audiences.

With us all doing what we can to support BDACT, we will ensure excellent performances continue as the new BDACT infuses culture, inclusivity, and wonder into this desirable city we all call home.

-Mary Ostermann
Beaver Dam Women’s Health
 

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