MARTINSBURG – Apollo Civic Theater Program Director Aubrey Ervin said: âCommunity theater cannot thrive without the support of its community. But it’s more complicated than that. “
The Apollo Civic Theater opened in 1914 and since then continues to be a focal point for community entertainment and a reflection on the community’s changing history, according to its website.
âA community theater has to thrive a bit on its own, enough to grab the community’s attention so the community knows we’re here,â Ervin said.
As the theater prepares to reopen in the near future, Ervin said she is considering questions about how best to continue to allow historic community theater to thrive.
âDo people in the community know about our theater and all it has to offer? Do they know all it takes to keep it open? Said Ervin. âAfter COVID, and almost a year and a half of closure, how could we best reopen? How could we best tell everyone that we are still here and are excited to be returning to the theater? We are excited to be doing our youth workshops again after school and summer and hope we can bounce back from being so dark for so long.
Recently, the theater developed an idea that will allow the lobby to be remodeled, and Ervin said they wanted to make the most of the time they had before the theater could open. The Apollo Civic Theater is running a âCrane Sponsorshipâ campaign.
âThis art installation would represent a new beginning and become a happy reminder that our community supports this theater. If we could get enough people to sponsor, we could really turn this project into a new lobby, âsaid Ervin.
Ervin said she came up with the idea for an art project she did in elementary school.
âI had to fold 100 paper cranes and remembered that cranes represented hope and healing during difficult times,â she said. âThis is why the art installation has become cranes. These will be brightly colored cranes with the names of anyone who donates $ 50 or more. They will be one of the first things you see when you enter the theater.
âI imagine cranes of different sizes, perhaps to represent corporate donations. Individuals would be one size and businesses would be slightly larger in size, but they would all be united because each donation counts the same to achieve it. “
According to Michael Noll, the last time the lobby did any work was in 1960, 61 years ago.
âWe are very excited about the work being done on East Martin and it is wonderful. But with construction completed, people still cannot enter the theater. We had to really think about how best to use that time before we could reopen. Even before COVID hit, there was a need to update the building facade as well as our lobby, but there was never the time or money, âErvin said.
âIf we could update the spaces that can be seen by anyone on the street, even if they never enter our theater, the community would see that we are once again open and prosperous, ready for a new one. departure. It would be exciting to have the Apollo at its best as East Martin opens its doors. I started looking at some old photos of the lobby and started thinking about how we might make this update true to the story. It would start with new tiling.
Ervin said she fundraised and took it upon herself to see if anyone would be willing to donate materials.
âI started talking to people to find someone who would donate tiling to redo the floor, actually thinking maybe I should lay it myself,â Ervin said. âAfter a lot of nays from various places I was put in contact with Sherwin Williams flooring and after a few weeks they came back and said that not only would they split the cost of the tile donation between two companies: Sherwin Williams Flooring and Dal Tuile, but Sherwin Williams Flooring would also donate the labor.
âI Danced. I cried. It gave us a start. It gave me hope that it could actually happen. We started looking for a timeless color palette and a beautiful backdrop to refresh. our hall.
Ervin also said she wanted to find a way to showcase young people, which she calls the liveliness of the theater.
âThe lobby would need a pop of color that would be the perfect juxtaposition to the more elegant neutral color scheme,â Ervin said. âThe initial idea was that maybe we could do an art installation hanging from the ceiling in the new hall, and that’s where our color could come from. and then it all clicked â that’s where we could name the people who donate.
âAs soon as the hall renovations are complete, the last thing to be fitted will be these brightly colored hanging cranes. The cranes will remain in place throughout the season from July to June. Individuals or businesses can sponsor a crane throughout the season at any time to have a crane added to their name at the facility. Any donation to a crane goes to the lobby. Once the exterior lobby is complete, all crane donations will go to the lobby concession area and lobby bathrooms. We will slowly go back.
Ervin said she sees the Crane Campaign as an annual campaign. She said as they move forward with the remodel, there are old black and white photos of the Apollo stuck on the walls for inspiration.
âIt would be fun if someone had some old photos to send us. Plus, we’ll have a whole new tiled floor soon,â Ervin said. âWe hope to be able to install new windows and this will allow light to enter and also allow passers-by to see our cranes. The goal is for the entrance hall to be completed by September. This beautiful old building is in dire need of that love right now. I really hope everyone is as excited as I am. This theater has the hearts of so many people and many young people who have participated in our workshops.
Ervin said that anyone who wants to donate can visit, tix5.centerstageticketing.com/sites/apollocivictheater6/tickets.php?type=generaladmission&c=555&e=269&d=1026, mail it to Apollo Theater at Apollo Crane Theater Sponsor PO Box 3120 Martinsburg, WV 25402-3120.
âDonors can email [email protected] if they want to clarify what they want the crane to say or if they want to offer their specialist services or have questions,â Ervin added.