By Tina Blake, Development Director, Prescott Center for the Arts
What do the staff members of a theater do when they have to go dark in the middle of the season? Prescott Center for the Arts (PCA) has been around for more than 50 years, and like all of you, had never experienced anything like COVID-19.
One thing was for certain: a dark theater is never really dark.
In early March, Executive Director Robyn Allen, created a new opportunity to give back.
“As I looked around our community in need, I thought of our patrons and volunteers. We could give back in unprecedented ways to those who have cared for us through the years,” Allen said.
To that end, PCA started PCA SERVES, an initiative providing volunteer services for vulnerable members of our community that were being asked to stay home. The three main goals: to assist with daily tasks like picking up prescriptions or groceries, conduct wellness checks by phone, and provide virtual entertainment.
The PCA Board of Directors jumped at the opportunity and with an enthusiastic staff and more than 40 spirited volunteers, went into action.
The initiative’s accomplishments included touching the lives of more than 5,000 locals by:
- Creating a Collective database and making more 3,000 wellness check phone calls to individuals throughout Yavapai County.
- Providing drop-off services for groceries and prescriptions.
- Assisting with rides to medical appointments.
- Assembling a volunteer cadre ready to assist Thumb Butte Medical with drive-through-testing.
- Sewing of masks by volunteer costumers and gathering supplies and sharing with those in need.
- Creating a Weekly Art Gallery Opportunity for Youth, called PCA Kids Inspire.
- Sending out a weekly e-newsletter on art education, art performances, and specific artist spotlights to engage people of all ages at home.
- Producing and performing in virtual acting, singing, dancing, and various visual art virtual experiences.
- Facilitating the Annual Scholarship Competition in the Performing and Visual Arts with local youth (which provides over $15,000 in scholarships) remotely.
- Managing the Young Playwrights Festival Competition online.
“In addition to working directly on PCA SERVES, the staff and volunteers worked on ways to be ready for re-opening. The remainder of the 2019-2020 Season will still happen, so keep your tickets,” said Suzy Campbell, Box Office Manager.
The productions Willy Wonka, God of Carnage, Amadeus, Mamma Mia, and Red are cast and all actors are excited to get rehearsing in groups again. If the new dates of the performances don’t work with your schedule you can receive a refund or donate the purchase cost to PCA as a local nonprofit.
“In addition, because we’re keeping costs to a minimum and allocating resources differently,” Allen said, “in the near future patrons will see improvements made during the quarantine, including improved sound, a new ticketing system, an upgraded website and social media experience, and a variety of cost-effective renovations.”
She added, “A theater really is never dark. We can’t wait to get back to what we do best, but in the meantime, I can’t express how proud I am of our flexible team and PCA Board, the members of which choose to serve with dedicated kindness on and off the stage.”
Check out www.pca-az.net or call 928.445.3286 for the latest on PCA SERVES, purchasing tickets, hours of operation, and contribution opportunities.