• Abigail Hall

Beloved community theater to stay open, begin construction in August

Originally published by Wichita Eagle, July 28, 2019.

A beloved community theater will continue to perform amidst building construction in August.

The Kechi Playhouse, a live community theater in the Wichita area since 1983, will begin construction in August, after receiving a $250,000 community development block grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce, and raising more than $83,000 from the local community, said Misty Maynard, theater owner, playwright and director.

The 100-year-old building in downtown Kechi will receive work on its external fixtures, such as a brick wall on the west side, the windows, roof and eaves, Maynard said.

Maynard said she was shocked at the amount of emotional and financial support she received from the surrounding community.

“I just assumed that eventually we would be shut down,” Maynard said. “I was amazed by how generous people were... it seems small and simple to me — but it’s important to them.”

The construction will tentatively begin August 19, Maynard said.

Currently the theater season runs June through October, with auditions starting in April.

Once the updates are finished, Maynard said she’s hopeful that she might be able to stay open into the winter for a Christmas show, but currently it costs too much to heat the building.

“This is like winning the lottery,” Maynard said. “I would never have been able to stay in this building. And I think it deserves to be seen — even though it’s basically a little box.”

While the building is small, the Playhouse can hold 100 audience members at a time in their pew seating.

The current show at the Playhouse is “You Take The Cake,” an original by Maynard, which will have its final show Sunday, July 28.

The rest of the Kechi Playhouse season is: “There Goes the Bride,” which runs Aug. 2 to Sept. 1; “Living on Love,” which runs Sept. 6 to 29 and “Fireflies,” which runs Oct. 4 to 27.

Tickets are available for purchase at the door and cost $15 on Fridays and Saturdays and $13 on Sundays. Showtime is at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain.

For more information call 316-744-2152 or visit www.kechiplayhouse.com. The theater is located at 100 E. Kechi Road in Kechi.

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