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JRT leaders making plans for successful future

In the midst of the largest production the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre has ever taken on, the JRT’s Board of Directors met Sept. 3 to make plans for the future.
JRT Artistic Director Jennifer Schmidt told the group the theater’s most recent play, “Shrek the Musical” which ended last week, was very successful.
“Taking on a production of this size has caused us some growing pains, but we’re seeing that we’re able to do some things we’ve never been able to do before,” Schmidt said.
She also discussed the recent addition of the Stage Door, a new box office and concessions space adjacent to the JRT in a building rented from Dr. Charles Allen.
“It has been a big hit with patrons and actors,” Schmidt said. “People are thrilled they don’t have to stand outside to wait anymore.”
However, growth comes with challenges. Schmidt stressed the need now for more people to work the concessions.
With revenues just over $3,000 from concession and souvenir sales during Shrek performances, board member Janette Gaines suggested a line item be added to the JRT budget.
“Concessions are a new item. We need to know how expenses and revenues are to be handled,” Gaines said. “We need to be able to see a line item and have a code number assigned to that.”
Board member Joe Florence also mentioned a need for more bathrooms and suggested looking at reconfiguring space in the Stage Door.
A need for Stage Door money makers should also be a priority, Schmidt said, noting that several ideas have been discussed.
Topping that list are plans to establish an after-hours coffee house with live music.
“We would like to have themed weekends,” Schmidt said. “We also thought about having one weekend out of each month for high school students to give them a safe place to get together and maybe dance.”
The JRT may also be selling boxed lunches, served in a retro 1940s atmosphere, during the National Storytelling Festival next month.
“We could also offer an after school ‘Storybook Theater,’” Schmidt said. “We could piggyback on what we already have in place with some of the characters we have costumes for in the upcoming shows.”
Other suggestions included hosting a haunted courtyard behind the Eureka Inn, hosting birthday parties for children, brunch with Santa, and offering singing telegrams.
Terry Countermine also discussed a database project that will be a collaborative effort between senior computer science students at East Tennessee State University and the JRT. It will allow the costume house and props to be fully inventoried and searchable.