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CLC campaigns for theater improvements

Central Lakes College is launching the Dryden Theatre Campaign to raise $130,000 to renovate and improve a number of features in the campus' Dryden Theatre.

These improvements include new theater-style seats, the addition of a sound/lighting booth, the addition of seating risers, as well as updated curtains for aesthetic purposes.

"The Dryden Theatre offers an intimate space with an extraordinarily up-close experience," theater director Patrick Spradlin stated in a news release. "Over the past few years the theater has begun to show its age and our capital improvement plan will result in a better experience for audience members."

To date, just over $42,000 has been raised. Through the generosity of Dutch and Irma Cragun, gifts to this project will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000. Donations made prior to Dec. 31 can be claimed on 2017 tax filings and are 100 percent tax-deductible. Contributions will be accepted until March 31.

During his tenure at Central Lakes College theater director, Bob Dryden (now retired) set a goal to construct a flexible space theater, which could be used for a variety of performances and presentations. In 1991, the Black Box Theatre was opened and was later renamed the Bob Dryden Theatre in honor of the man who imagined it.

Since that time, over 75 theater productions have been viewed there, ranging from one-man shows to full-scale musicals. In 1998, it hosted a gubernatorial debate featuring Skip Humphrey, Norm Coleman and Jesse Ventura.

Once Dryden Theatre is upgraded, audiences will be exposed to a wider variety of plays in the space, along with a new music series featuring selected professional artists whose talents will be showcased in such intimate confines.

To donate go to and click on Dryden Theatre Campaign.