GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR) – A beloved theatre in downtown Guthrie is hoping its Christmas wish comes true so it can continue to serve audiences for years to come.
When the coronavirus pandemic started to spread across the globe, the historic Pollard Theatre closed its doors. In 2021, it started to welcome guests back to in-person performances.
“We kicked off with a benefit concert and then it kind of felt like we were off to the races,” said Kara Luther-Chapman, the theatre’s Executive Director.
However, Mother Nature stopped them in their tracks.
“When we returned, we noticed some of our equipment was out, specifically our air conditioning units,” Jared Blount, the theatre’s artistic director, said. “Upon inspection, they said, ‘Hey, it looks like one of your units was struck by lightning.’ Whoever said lightning can’t strike the same place twice has never been in the theatre, I guess.”
They were able to get temporary equipment to use for their first show but it wasn’t a permanent or viable solution for their next one.
“It’s the essence and nature of live performance to have to jump over hurdles and put out fires but sometimes the hurdles are just a little high,” said Jared Blount, Artistic Director.
Now, the Pollard Theatre hopes that a grant will give them the financial boost it needs to make the necessary repairs.
According to the Guthrie News-Page, the Pollard Theatre is submitting a grant proposal to the State of Oklahoma’s American Rescue Plan Act portal for $400,000.
If the theatre is awarded the grant, the City of Guthrie will match up to $100,000 from the city’s ARPA funds.
“There was a time when Guthrie was a booming city and this was the hub of entertainment,” Luther-Chapman said. “People would line up here to come see all of the shows. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and make sure this infrastructure lasts for the next 20, 30, 100 years.”