Young@Heart Virtual Benefit Concert

October 2020
10:00 AM PDT
October 2020
10:00 PM PDT
GOAL $5,000.00
49.1% To Goal

Young@Heart Virtual Benefit Concert

Begun in October 2018, the Bill Grotemeyer Fund is named after a great contributor to community theatre. Bill was a fervent believer in the arts and, specifically, educating youth in theatre arts. The mission behind the fund is to increase access to theatre education and to continue the legacy of Bill's love of the arts. Since its genesis, The Bill Grotemeyer Fund has awarded nearly $3,000 in scholarships and financial assistance. Recipients include participants of Stockton Civic Theatre’s Junior Program and Brogan Keener, recipient of the fund's inaugural college scholarship.

Money raised from the Young@Heart Virtual Benefit Concert will help support Stockton Civic Theatre, SCT Jr. and the Bill Grotemeyer Fund in efforts to support, develop and foster youth theatre education.

About Stockton Civic Theatre

Live theatre in Stockton. It began with the Gold Rush! First it was the Stockton Theatre for the rough and tumble sailors and miners of 1853. In 1911, when folks became more civilized, the great Sarah Bernhardt performed “La Dam Aux Camelias” at Yosemite Theatre. In 1923, the Masonic Music Hall opened a large auditorium on its top floor — all for live theatre!

“Another offspring of the drama was born last night at Madison School Auditorium and everyone concerned is ‘doing nicely’.”
— The Stockton Record

It was fall 1950. Frank Jones, librarian, and Clyde Nielsen, banker, led theatre enthusiasts in an enterprise they called Stockton Civic Theatre. Their first show, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, was performed at Madison School Auditorium.

They were very successful. By 1952 they had bought the old Zion Lutheran Church at Madison and Willow and turned it into a 197-seat theatre. In 1954 they incorporated as a California nonprofit corporation. Shows were well received, but unknown problems were brewing.

In 1962, a judge ordered that the theatre didn’t qualify as a tax exempt nonprofit, but on behalf of SCT, a feisty local attorney named Fred Bollinger declared war on the system. Finally, in 1967, the California Supreme Court ruled for the theatre in Stockton Civic Theatre v. Board of Supervisors, setting a precedent that today benefits all community theaters in America.

In 1973, John Falls, President of the Board, appointed Donald Lamond as Chief Planner. The building at Willow and Monroe was falling apart, and Dr. Lamond advocated a new home for SCT.

In 1974, a local developer offered free land with construction at cost in the new Venetian Bridges development, just off March Lane at Venezia and Rosemarie. SCT President Don Lamond put John Falls in charge of fundraising. The Stockton Record announced the construction of a 300-seat facility to begin June 10, 1980. The beautiful new Rosemarie Lane theatre opened its first Season, 1980, with its 166th main stage production, Chapter Two, directed by Nick Elliott.

Times seem good, but it’s never easy. Money is scarce, but persistence pays and strong leadership emerges. In 1996, founder Clyde Nielsen generously donated funds to retire the mortgage, Greg Morales was hired as first Producing Director, later followed by Paul Bengston. Now, SCT has a staff of eight.

Live theatre today? Under President Joe Smith and Artistic Director Dennis Beasley, major productions continue to become huge hits! Frank Jones and Clyde Nielsen’s Stockton Civic Theatre — alive and well in the 21st Century!

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