On hiatus: Accessibility issues stall Readers Theatre

Readers Theatre Plus (RT+), a Sequim nonprofit theater group that gives its proceeds back to local charities and through college scholarships, plans to take a temporary hiatus due to accessibility issues at the Dungeness Schoolhouse.

Sequim audiences enjoyed Readers Theatre Plus' “The Winter Wonderettes”at the Dungeness Schoolhouse

Readers Theatre Plus (RT+), a Sequim nonprofit theater group that gives its proceeds back to local charities and through college scholarships, plans to take a temporary hiatus due to accessibility issues at the Dungeness Schoolhouse.

The chairlift to the second floor where the schoolhouse’s stage resides recently broke and volunteers with the theater group and the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, which operates the schoolhouse, say the chairlift has been fickle for years and a deterrent for some to attend events.

To find a solution, organizers with both groups kickstarted a capital campaign in Nov. 1, 2014, to raise about $22,000 for an enclosed vertical platform lift on the outside of the schoolhouse. They held two benefit shows and organizers say as of this week they have just over $6,200 in a restricted fund.

Fundraising continues but Readers Theatre Plus still plans to take a hiatus until the lift is installed.

“It’s more slowing down,” Readers Theatre Plus chairman Jim Dries said. “It’s not stopping. We just may not be able to use the schoolhouse the next few months.”

For now the group is considering temporary venues in the area.

“We took the productions on the road before and used to go as far as Forks for shows,” Dries said.

Tentatively, the group plans to do two shows – a possible musical and an original work from a woman in Ohio based on World War II but it’s less a war piece and more of a human interest piece, Dries said.

The musical tentatively would run in March/April and the original play by the end of May/June.

“We have a very active board with people looking at this (venue issue),” Dries said. “People are looking to get back on stage.”

Another possibility the theater group is considering, Dries said, is holding a show for a week in Sequim and another week in Port Angeles.



The theater’s board members once used the schoolhouse exclusively for productions but stopped using the venue due to disagreements with former museum staff in 2014.

Performances were moved temporarily to the Sequim Prairie Grange but members found the facility’s schedule wasn’t conducive to consecutive weeks of programming.

Board members chose to go back to the schoolhouse after the leadership changed at the museum.


How to help

If you know of a temporary facility for Readers Theatre Plus, call 797-3337 and/or visit http://readerstheatreplus.com.

To donate to the lift effort, call the museum at 683-8110 and/or send donations to Readers

Theatre Plus, Box 395, Carlsborg, WA 98324 and add the note “VPL Benefit.” Donations for the lift are tax deductible.



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