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TCA begins ‘40 Seats in 40 Days’ campaign

By
JACKIE KOCH

Kelly Jo Gilmore, director of the Tecumseh Center for the Arts (TCA), is hoping patrons will want to make their mark on the theater this December by leaving something memorable in the auditorium. The “40 Seats in 40 Days” fundraising campaign offers the chance to have a name, favorite quote, or unique message permanently engraved on a plaque on one of the seat arms in the theater, and right now the standard price of $250 is drastically reduced 60% to the special holiday price of $100.

The annual Take a Seat Campaign takes on new meaning this year as the TCA celebrates its 40th anniversary. The campaign began November 16 and will end on December 25, a 40-day opportunity to take advantage of the discount and support the TCA at the same time. “Normally we sell a dozen seats each year, however, this year we wanted to celebrate the theater’s 40th anniversary and came up with the goal of selling 40 seats,” said Gilmore. Each nameplate can have up to three lines of text, with 20-25 characters per line. 

The theater has 572 seats in the auditorium and there are currently 93 engraved nameplates placed on armrests throughout the theater, leaving hundreds of seats available for personalization. “If we reach our 40 seats it will be the most we’ve sold in a single year,” Gilmore said.

The TCA is closed to the public due to the increase in coronavirus cases in the area. “The theater has only had one indoor event in the past eight months, although we continue to find ways to interact with the community and make enhancements while closed,” she said. “You can see this through the TCA Street Art Trail, the Halloween on Wheels event and the beginning of the new Mary Jo Mensing Sculpture Garden.” Without revenue from shows and rentals, it is crucial that the TCA raises funds throughout the year to help maintain the theater through the current closures. Gilmore said she will continue to seek financial support throughout the year as they ask for individual donations and grants and announce other fundraising campaigns.

Due to most of the shows and rentals being up in the air for the rest of 2020 and into 2021, the theater is not offering season tickets this year. Further shows will be promoted just one month in advance once contracts have been signed, and once Gilmore and her staff feel confident they will be able to safely host an indoor event. When events do return, tickets will be limited to just 114 seats, and due to the limited number of seats available, they will offer a flat ticket rate per show based on cost for each show. “We are also looking to offer virtual shows at a reduced price to give patrons options for both in-person and virtual viewing options,” she said.

Anyone interested in purchasing a plaque during the “40 Seats in 40 Days” promotion may call 423.6617 or order online. For the most up-to-date information on events and campaigns, Gilmore encourages patrons to sign up for the TCA email newsletter or visit thetca.org and social media sites. Because staff is working reduced hours at the theater, those calling the theater telephone are asked to leave a voicemail message or email boxoffice@thetca.org if they have questions. 

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