What makes the Fendig Summer Theatre for Children so unique is that all aspects of the performance is run by the children themselves - even the backstage and technical aspects of the production. The general mission of the theatre is to challenge their children to learn and to get involved in all aspects of the production and to generally provide a meaningful and artistically challenging theatre experience for the community.
However, like many non-profit organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fendig Theatre for Children faced some unforeseen challenges. This year the theatre was supposed to put on their 45th annual two act musical theatre production for children grades 4-8, but the in-person performance was quickly cancelled due to the pandemic. Obviously this was very disappointing for many, and it left staff and directors wondering what their next step should be.
Ultimately, they decided that
despite the pandemic, they needed to find a new way to continue to hold true to their mission, and provide their kids with the quality theatre education that they always strive to provide. Due to social distancing and remote learning, they would have to do so through a virtual theatre experience.
“The Virtual Fendig Theatre Experience” is a compilation of informational videos released through the organization’s YouTube and Facebook pages as well as on their website. Viewers are able to learn about all areas of theatre production and have opportunities to practice their performance and technical skills from home.
Even though they had a solid idea and a means to deliver it, they still had a problem. The theatre would need additional outside financial assistance because the technical maintenance of the virtual experience would put too much strain on their already suffering budget.
When the White County United Way heard about their program and their need for financial assistance, there was no hesitation in helping them in their time of need. Monies through the Community Relief Fund helped the theatre pay for insurance, internet service, software, utilities, additional licensing and programming materials for “The Virtual Fendig Theatre Experience.”
Funding is made possible through the Economic Relief Initiative Grant, sponsored by Indiana United Ways, partnering with Lilly Endowment, Inc. The Community Relief Fund
allows money to be distributed to various non-profit organizations in White, Pulaski, and Jasper counties that need additional financial assistance for programming during the pandemic. The fund is managed through the White County United Way in partnership with the Community Foundation of White County, the Jasper Newton Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Pulaski County.
Thanks to dedicated organizations such as the Fendig Summer Theatre for Children for wanting to continue their mission in any way possible, and funding provided through the White County United Way Community Relief Fund, the show can always go on - no matter the challenges.
Visit their website at: https://www.fendigtheatre.org/index.html#/
Jordan Day has been with the United Way since May 2020, and is currently working as a Social Media Consultant for WCUW.