Genesius Theatre held its second annual “From Stage to Screen” Pre-Oscars party Sunday night at the YR Club in Wyomissing. The red carpet night featured cocktails by piano, silent auction, and special musical theatre entertainment by Genesius actors.
Before the entertainment began, we spoke with Ellen Walter, Advisory board member about the legacy of Genesius and its future. “A lot of theatre is made into film, so a pre-Oscar party was a natural fit to build as our signature fundraising event”. With last year’s fundraiser raising over $7,000, Walter says her goal for the theater this year is $10,000.
Walter says the bulk of the money raised comes from the silent auction, which hosts a variety of high end items, including wall art, sculptures, wine bundles, gift cards and jewelry. Walter’s personal favorite, the collectors edition Marilyn Monroe Barbie.
The night isn’t just about enjoying cocktails and bidding on silent auction items. It’s about continuing the mission of Genesius Theatre, focusing on the three pillars of Genesius, structure, staff, and youth.
Owning the building at 10th and Walnut since 1974 is an investment for the theatre. Walter mentioned a few of the buildings on going maintenance needs. “It needs to be painted, and heating is a big cost during the winter due to the high ceilings. Overall, we want to enhance our corner of downtown Reading, which takes in-kind donations to fulfill those needs.”
Staffing is also a concern for the theatre. “We are in need of a managing director, marketing director, development director, all these don’t come free for a nonprofit” said Walter. As a mostly volunteer run organization, Genesius is very frugal with how it uses its hard earned ticket money. “The shows pretty much break even, between licencing fees, building sets, and having a full orchestra.”
Genesius’s third pillar is especially important to Walter. Since the age of 13, Walter has been involved in the Genesius and wants to see it continue to provide opportunity’s to educate youth in the community. “Most of our actors get their first starts at Genesius, and many progress to degrees and careers in professional theatre” said Walter.
To highlight the talent of Genesius actors, Ellen, and Genesius Artist Director, introduced two stage performances during the entertainment portion of the evening, featuring actors from 6-14’s years old and teens to 20’s.
Walter is very excited about the new year for Genesius. “I really want to give back to the place that helped launch my career. The new batch of talent that gets added every year here is extraordinary, and I look forward to the new season. Im thrilled to be involved!” said Walter.