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Haven cause worthy of community support

A group of citizens dedicated to the arts have come togetherwith the goal of saving a historic structure in downtownBrookhaven.

The Save the Haven committee has been revived to spearheadfundraising to continue Brookhaven Little Theatre’s efforts torestore the West Cherokee Street facility that has been BLT’s homefor around 20 years. BLT productions were held in various locationsin the area until the organization purchased the former movietheater building in the mid-1980s and made it useable again.

A new renovation and restoration effort is now needed tocontinue to allow the building to remain an important aspect of thedowntown landscape. BLT leaders envision the facility being usednot only for their seasonal plays, but also used by the communityas a host site for meetings and a variety of other functions.

While several projects in recent years have generated matchingmoney for grants that have been used to replace the building’s roofand to renovate its façade, additional funds are now needed tocontinue work on the theater building. Organization leaders arefocused on the building’s front, including its noted marquee, but avariety of interior work will also need to be done as the projectmoves forward.

Toward that effort, Save the Haven committee members have beencontacting local businesses, citizens and other supporters inrecent times to request help in their cause. The committee has alsolined up several events, including a draw-down fundraiser with thechance for someone to win $10,000, during the coming months.

Tough economic times make it difficult for any organization toask for money.

However, BLT’s efforts serve a two-fold purpose of helping torestore a historic part of downtown while also furtheringBrookhaven’s reputation as a community interested in and supportiveof the arts. After all, the Mississippi School of the Arts is justdown the street and several Brookhaven artisans have gainedstatewide attention for their work.

Having a strong community theatre provides an outlet for thosewishing to unleash their inner thespian while also giving apotential launching pad for young people interested in exploring acareer in theater.

Furthermore, audiences who enjoyed such recent BLT productionsas “Grease” and “Oklahoma” saw first hand the hard work that theactors, stage crew and others put in to each and every production.An improved venue for those productions would make the audience’sexperience even more memorable.