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Cheers for the Community Theatre

Dear Editor:

I would like to take just a moment to thank the Johnson County Community Theatre for something they do even they might not be aware of. I am appreciative of the hundreds of hours it takes to produce a show, donated freely and generously. I am also keenly aware of the sacrifice each performer and technician makes to entertain us, including time sacrifices from their families and am grateful for that as well.
What I most appreciate is the amount of much needed money they generate to the economy of Johnson County. It is a forgotten statistic, one of many, of the small town theatre group. In a time that Johnson County needs ways to pump income into local business, the Johnson County Community Theatre is an unsung hero.
How many are aware that a small town theatre attendant inadvertently spends an average of twice the ticket price? Realistically it may be much more. As an example, my companion and I compared notes; between the two of us, we spent $100 that day. We had dinner out before the show. I put gas in the car. She took a spring jacket she hadn’t worn since last year to the cleaners and I got a haircut.
We attended opening night with an audience of about 50 people. (Shame on you Johnson County for having such a small turn out for an opening night!) Think about it. If everyone there spent the statistical average over $1000 was spent in Johnson County at restaurants and gas stations that day. Now multiply that by six performances. It may not seem like much, but that’s actually a week’s pay for three full time minimum wage employees. That’s a lot of money that wouldn’t have been spent had the Johnson County Community Theatre not given a production.
The actual figures may be much higher than that. At least half of the people in attendance required babysitters. Many had an excuse to dress up, creating trips to the hair dresser, cleaners and clothing shops because it was an event many don’t often get to attend or can afford. Those who didn’t have dinner before probably had dessert and coffee after, or at least ran out somewhere to pick up chicken or fast food so they wouldn’t have to cook or do dishes before curtain time.
Then there is the after effect financial generators. Many theatre attendees will make a point to drop by a place of business one of the actors works at just to say how much they enjoyed the performance. Since they are there, they’ll pick up an item or two and that’s only the beginning of the butterfly effect.
When one stops to think about it, it is absolutely amazing what a Community Theatre does for tourism and the economy of a small town, and there isn’t enough space in this letter to go over the benefits it has on education, self-esteem and the community support unit. The amount of money generated is astounding, especially when you realize that only the meager ticket price goes in their pocket, barely enough to cover the expense of mounting a theatre production.
So I begin a standing ovation for Kathy Terrill, Michael Eggers and the others who make up our little Community Theatre. We should be supporting you so much more than we do, and area businesses should be fighting over the right to fund and/or underwrite one of your productions.
I hope in the future, as you help us grow, you continue to grow in reputation and artistic resonance as we, the family of Johnson County, can only benefit from your existence.
Once again, thank you Johnson County Community Theatre, from the bottom of my heart.

Dan Beebe
Mountain City, TN