Middletown theater receives largest grant in time for 40th year

The timing couldn’t have been better for the Middletown Lyric Theatre.

On the heels of its 40th anniversary, MLT was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Middletown Community Foundation, the largest of the 10 grants from the second cycle of awards. The grant to the theater will help sponsor eight productions that will make up the 40th Birthday Celebration series.

The second largest grant went to Support to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF). The agency received $12,000 to repair homes for low income homeowners who lack the financial and physical ability to work on their own homes, the MCF said.

The next grant application deadline is June 1 for projects that pertain to quality education, human needs and capital improvements.

Charley Shafor, managing artistic director of the MLT, said the grant money will be used to pay for royalties and right of production and the directors and musical directors next season.

“It will help in a lot of ways,” Shafor said.

He said MLT is important because it provides an entertainment option for area residents and keeps them from having to drive to other community theaters in Dayton and Cincinnati. He said about 60 percent of the audience who atteend MLT shows live outside the Middletown area.

He said MLT also gives performers, young and old, an avenue to express their talents.

“It’s all about creating a quality of life,” he said. “We are fortunate to have what we have here. We are an important part of the community; an integral part of this community.”

The theater started as the Campus Community Players in the late 1960s at Miami University Middletown, Shafor said. Then it moved to the Middletown Arts Center in 1978 and Middletown Lyric Theatre was formed, he said.

The theater moved to its current location, 1530 Central Ave., about 10 years ago, Shafor said.

“We have come along way,” he said. “We owe a lot of our success to the generosity of the donors over the years.”

The 40th anniversary season will begin Sept 14 with the production of Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook and end next summer with The Loman Family Picnic.

Here is the schedule for the 2017-18 season, the 40th for the Middletown Lyric Theatre:

Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook, Sept. 14-15 and 21-22

Other Desert Cities, Nov. 9-10 and 16-17

Miracle on 34th Street, Dec. 14-15 and 21-22

Baby, March 1-2 and 8-9

Fix Me, Jesus, April 5-6 and 12-13

The Loman Family Picnic, June 7-8 and 14-15

The Middletown Community Foundation awarded $72,000 to 10 area non-profit agencies during its second cycle of awards. Here are the agencies and how much grant money they will receive:

• Middletown Lyric Theater: $15,000 to sponsor eight productions next season.

• Support to Encourage Low-income Families (SELF): $12,000 to repair homes for low income homeowners.

• Downtown Middletown Inc.: $10,000 to fund “Takin it to the Streets” summer concert series.

• Abilities First Foundation: $10,000 to provide accessible outdoor playground equipment.

• Feed the Hungry: $7,000 to fund a memorable summer experience for children ages 6-15.

• United Methodist Gathering: $5,000 to fund outside lights and cameras to provide security and safety.

• Downtown Middletown Inc.: $5,000 to support Hocus Pocus Family Fun Festival, a Halloween event in downtown Middletown.

• ACE Foundation (Anthony Munoz Foundation): $4,300 for Hispanic Character Camp for 5th to 8th grade Hispanic males.

• Southwest Ohio Philharmonic, Inc. (SWOP): $2,500 to sponsor the Concerto Concert in January 2019.

• Ronald McDonald House of Miami Valley: $1,000 to provide families of hospitalized children home cooked meals, on-site laundry facilities, communal space and a private guest room for a nominal fee.

Small grants that were awarded include:

• Middletown Arts Festival: $3,000 for festival expenses.

• City of Middletown: $2,000 for Smith Park playground.

• Middletown Pickleball Association: $1,500 to expand courts.

• Middletown Civic Chorus: $800 for Messiah concert.

The next grant application deadline is June 1 for projects that pertain to quality education, human needs and capital improvements.

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