Monday, November 27, 2017

Maggie Cumings Memorial Garden

On September 28th, our community had to say goodbye to one of our brightest lights, Maggie Cumings. Maggie (pictured center in the silly turquoise outfit) first joined our theater program with 2015's production of Little Shop of Horrors and was a staple every summer since. 
She was a perfect fit for the stage--dramatic, playful, dedicated, and witty. 
Those of us who had the pleasure of working with Maggie are better for having known her.

Though Maggie's life was far too short, her impact was enormous. In addition to being a loving wife and mother, she served as the pastor at First Lutheran Church and volunteered as a member of the community education board. In honor of Maggie's generosity and commitment, we are raising funds to create a memorial garden for her at Armstrong School. Armstrong is home to our community education and community theater programs, and it's also where Maggie's children attended preschool and kindergarten. We hope to create a lovely tribute to someone who brought much joy to our lives.

To contribute to Maggie's memorial garden, please bring your donations 
to Ashley Tetzloff in the Community Education office at Armstrong School. 
She can be reached at (507) 375-4517 with any questions. Thank you!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Autographed Walls

Progress is awesome. But sometimes the past is a casualty in the process. Enter the Little Theater costume room. Well, actually good luck entering the Little Theater costume room--it was an overcrowded mess. Fortunately, St. James passed a referendum in 2015 and our theater received some much-needed updates, including dressing rooms and a larger storage space. 
Unfortunately, that meant our costume room walls full of autographs had to come down. 

As best we can tell, those names went back to the early 1970's and covered decades of high school and community theater productions. They were often painted by cast and crew members before they washed out their brushes after working on the set for a show. At the end of this album, you'll find some photos of the new updates, but first enjoy this trip down memory lane. We extensively photographed the old walls, knowing they'd be gone by the time construction wrapped. Some of the photos are redundant to avoid missing anything. 

We know it's hard to see that history go, but the Little Theater is alive and well and we're nothing but grateful for the improvements to our much-loved space. 
Thanks for your support, St. James!

This is what remained of the walls following construction. The crew was asked to keep these untouched as a nod to our past. Something got lost in translation, however, and we came back to find them painted black to match the rest of the wall. Frustrating, though uniformly black walls are probably better to keep the backstage invisible during a show.

This stairwell wall is also black now.

A lift was installed in the costume room area to make the stage wheelchair accessible.

Old costume room becomes new multi-purpose storage space.

Inside the storage space.

We finally have dressing rooms, complete with lighted mirrors and counter space!

The dressing rooms have separate boys and girls bathrooms with plenty of space for changing costumes between scenes.


Our final request--double doors backstage so we can move larger set pieces into the theater. 
Like giant man-eating plant puppets, for example.

Costume room photos by Katie Wojtalewicz.
New construction photos by Teresa Holmquist.