Wieting Theatre 2023 Year in Review


Have you ever felt isolated, invisible or insignificant? Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States is touring the country because he views loneliness as a public health concern. He thinks it is important to “invest in local institutions that bring people together, create opportunities for social connection and establish programs that provide positive relationships for individuals of different ages, backgrounds and viewpoints.” The Wieting Theatre absolutely provides these opportunities for our communities.

Over the past year, we have had 122 movie viewings. Our attendance is still down from pre-pandemic levels when we averaged 54 people per show. Covid changed the movie industry. Movies go to streaming quickly and many people have the big screen televisions and subscribe to many streaming services like Netflix. We will continue to book new releases and listen to the requests of our customers to try to increase this income.

Private rental usage for the event space is up 50% since 2022. It was used for family reunions, baby and wedding showers, graduation parties, funeral dinners, and receptions. Our hope is to increase that with the installation of a new dishwasher, stove, microwave donated by a friend of the Wieting and additional cupboard space in the near future. Much of this was accomplished with financial support from the Tama County Foundation!

2023 was a wonderful year for special events. So many cultural opportunities were presented to our citizens such as Opera Iowa’s presentation of “Beauty and the Beast”, Black Pop Music from the University of Iowa, Roy Orbison Tribute Concert, “Squatters of the Red Earth” an original play by Mary Swander, an Iowa Poet Laureate, 3 Legends Tribute Concert featuring the music of Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis, Irish Sessions Concert, and Holiday Concert from the University of Iowa with our STC Graduate, Luis Avalos.

There was other entertainment for your enjoyment that used local talent. Some of these shows were: The Basement Band Concerts, “Straight Outta Bethlehem” play with homeschoolers, “Scrooge Jazz’d Up” with dancers from Dance Konnection, Children’s Theatre Camp’s play, “The Secret of the Sphinx”, and the monthly Tama County Historical Societies Programs that enlighten us and make us proud of our community.

The Wieting Guild’s policy is to support other nonprofit organizations that work to make Tama/Toledo a wonderful place to live. Some of these groups that used the theatre free of charge were: STC Scholarship Committee, Community Visioning Meetings, STC Large Group and Individual Speech Parents Nights, STC National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, STEM Camp, Speakers for Leonard “King” Cole Day, Toledo Library Program, “Iowa’s Lost History of the Titanic”, support for the many activities involved with RAGBRAI even housing riders, Family Free movie sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, Senior Citizen free movie sponsored by Tama County Public Health, and we even constructed a float for the homecoming parade!

Many community businesses donate their time and talents to help us maintain the Wieting. CIRSI clients clean the theatre each week. Sanitary Refuse and Garbage Service disposes of our trash. Bossman’s Window Service keeps our windows sparkling. Kendall Jordan clears our driveway in the winter and Musgrave TLC makes sure the grass is healthy and weed free. We can’t thank them enough for their support!

Fundraising is a topic at every monthly Guild meeting. The Trustees have an outstanding debt of approximately $375,000. As a result, we continue to look for grant opportunities, sell takeout casseroles, Kwik Star gas and grocery cards, have meals in conjunction with music and send out an annual donation appeal. Recently we were thrilled to receive an ongoing donation from a STC alum. This saves him capital gains tax and is a life line for us. Some people donate their required minimum distribution from their IRA to the Wieting. The theatre is also able to accept stock. Consider naming the Wieting in your will or estate as a way to benefit our community for years to come. If you are interested in helping the Wieting in this way, talk to your investment advisor for details.

The Wieting Theatre held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, April 17th, with the election of officers, review of finances and discussion of planned activities for 2024. The present caretakers of the Wieting are officers: Denise Fletcher – Past President, Leann Clemann – President, Josh Clemann – Vice-President, Marie Mann – Secretary, Michelle Evans – Treasurer.

Guild members: Lori Baier, Dallas Boerm, Charles Johnson, Barb Jordan, Sandy Kapayou, Alan Kline, Mark McFate, Morgan McFate, and Kevin Nelson.

Additional support is provided by Jim Roan, Mary Fasse-Shaw, Steve Kenkel, Jason Staker and Hannah Mullen. To not miss out and stay informed of upcoming events, please visit our website at https://wieting.tamatoledo.com/.

Remember the Wieting Theatre and Opera house is run by volunteers like you. Attending events and getting involved in your community is a great way to not feel isolated, invisible and insignificant.

See ‘ya at the Wieting!