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On stage or off – Impacting the community - Wieting Dedication Is Sunday, Sept.8

September 5, 2019
By Denise Fletcher , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

You are invited to attend the dedication and tour of the Wieting Theatre and Opera House Phase II on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 3 p.m. Extended family of Philip and Ella Wieting will be in attendance and would like to personally thank the entire community for being a good steward of Ella's gift.

The Wieting Theatre has been a "jewel" to the Tama -Toledo Community since the day it was dedicated on September 12, 1912. On that date, Ella Wieting gave the theatre to our citizens in honor of her husband, Philip. She entrusted the vitality of the theatre to our community, and we hope we have made her proud.

In 1958, the Wieting Theatre was closed due to the popularity of television. But just two years later, in 1960, a group of concerned citizens created the non-profit Toledo Community Theatre Guild and reopened the facility. With the help of many volunteers, they restored the theatre while teaching themselves the business. Thus began an active period of community involvement which included Bill Riley's Talent Shows, Fall Follies, Hoedowns, recitals, numerous high school productions, as well as many variety shows featuring local talent.

Article Photos

Wieting theatre - Opera house
Chronicle/John Speer

As time passed, the Guild realized they faced major obstacles with an outdated theatre. The building needed to be rewired, the seats needed replaced, HVAC added and technology advanced from reel-to-reel to digital format. Once again volunteers stepped up and initiated a "Save the Wieting" campaign which resulted in a Phase I completion and a re-dedication of the Wieting 100 years after Ella's gift to the community. Attendance at the movie theatre grew 300%. Current movies became the norm and new events were added. Thanks to community volunteers and local contractors, Phase I was a success.

Once Phase I was completed, the Guild realized more safety issues needed to be addressed. Beams needed to be replaced under the seating, roof trusses couldn't support the new rigging and updated lighting was needed. A bonus for Phase II was the addition - an accessible space for the performers and a place to provide expanded community opportunities. Throughout this past year, local contractors shared not only equipment but ideas and advice for the best possible outcome for this addition.

Since the completion of Phase II, the Wieting has been a busy place. The first community production in 30 years, Our Town, played to large crowds. Professional pianist, Amy Abler, graced our stage with a fabulous show. Camp Creamery worked with 60 young students for an entire week culminating in an enjoyable production of Calamity Jane. Our new event space is available to rent, whether it's for family functions or business needs.

Fact Box

Chronicle ? It Out:

WHAT:?Dedication & Tour of Wieting Theatre and Opera House - Phase I and II?event center, renovations, equipment updates completed.

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 8- 3 p.m.

WHERE: 101 S. Church St., Toledo

What will the Wieting be like in 2029, 2039? The long-term possibilities depend on the future caretakers in our community. Keeping the Wieting open and vibrant for another 100 years is both a challenge and an opportunity. Community is built by volunteers working together to accomplish a goal. Our volunteers have felt there was no better use of their time than making sure we have a safe place for people to go to be entertained, educated or to bravely test themselves to see what talents they may have that haven't yet been discovered. You might be one of them.

Over the years, many lives have been impacted through the arts. We hope you have had the privilege of enjoying movies, live events and the sense of community we have when we gather together.

Ella's wish for the Wieting Opera House was to, "Encourage and cultivate a taste for Music, Literature and the Arts." We can proudly say that renovation has happened, and so much more, in our community for the last 107 years and will continue into the future!

See ya' at the Wieting!



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