ELKINS, W.Va. — Since its start in 1991, the Old Brick Playhouse has been an important fixture in the arts community of Elkins. Known for allowing the youth of the community to explore the arts in the way of summer camps, after school programs, and even one-on-one mentoring, the Old Brick Playhouse also puts on a spring show with students from their after-school Apprentice Program every year.
With over 4,500 alumni who have gone through the Apprentice Program, the Old Brick Playhouse’s reach has extended beyond Elkins through the Polar Express, The Elk Limited, and Murder Mystery events that attract over 20,000 tourists to the area annually.
After purchasing a bottle of Allegheny Insurance water at the concession stand during this past spring’s feature of ‘Shrek the Musical’, Terry Hovatter, pharmacist at Davis Memorial Hospital, took heart with the pay it forward spirit of the bottled water program. Terry was overwhelmed with joy at this idea to help out children within the community of Elkins and brought her bottle home that evening, and immediately began saving her spare change.
“Every night I would empty my pockets and fill the bottle with spare change,” Terry told Allegheny Insurance. After nearly six months of emptying out her pockets, Terry had filled an entire bottle with spare change and donated it to the Old Brick Playhouse.
“I think they’re doing a good service for the community, especially the children,” says Terry, “it gives kids a great arts education and something to look forward too. It’s great watching these kids get involved and hopefully it helps them in the future.”
Missy McCollam, Executive Director of the Old Brick Playhouse, told Allegheny Insurance about the impact the ‘Keep the Change’ program has had on the Old Brick Playhouse, especially the after-school Apprentice Program which has received national recognition by the President’s Committee on the Arts as one of the top 15 educational arts programs. The Old Brick Playhouse received 480 bottles of donated water from Allegheny for their concession stand during ‘Shrek the Musical’ and was able to make a profit of $480 off those bottles by selling them for $1 each.
“These funds will go directly towards our Apprentice Program for middle/high school students,” McCollam explains, “these students come for educational workshops from September to May, working on projects like the Polar Express, Elkins Main Street’s events, participating in our spring show, and more.”
In addition to Terry’s bottle, the Old Brick Playhouse received seven bottles from other community members who attended the show and realizing the potential impact, also collected spare change and donated it to Old Brick Playhouse.
“We absolutely plan to sell the donated water again and encourage our fans to save their spare change. Our Apprentice Program was once funded by the state and recently that funding was cut, so fundraising with Allegheny bottled water and the ‘Keep the Change’ program will really help us and diversify our funding. This spring we will be launching our ‘Seussical the Musical’ and Allegheny donated water will be for sale.”
With money from selling the water bottles combined with change saved by fans of the show, the Old Brick Playhouse has raised enough for four students to receive scholarships for the Apprentice Program.
To learn more or to participate in the “Keep the Change” program visit www.alleghenyinsurance.com.