Save The Haven
For almost 20 years, the Brookhaven Little Theatre organization performed plays on stages all over Southwest Mississippi until they could find a “home.” In the mid 1980s, the group purchased the historic (then abandoned) Haven movie theater located downtown on West Cherokee Street. Several rows of seats were removed to accommodate the stage area; the auditorium seats 300 guests. In 2004, a committee was formed to plan repairs and renovations to the building.
The Save the Haven campaign began in 2004. A committee of concerned citizens was formed with the goal of completely renovating the building into a community Performing Arts Center. Estimates ranged from $1 million to $3 million for the completed project. Immediately volunteers began seeking funds and writing grants to appeal for help.
By 2006 The Haven had become recognized as a registered Mississippi Landmark. As a result, a landmark preservation grant was received (80% matching our 20%) to completely replace the theater’s 30 year old roof. (The project cost a total of $82,492, of which we paid only $16,498.56). New heating/air-conditioning units were also installed.
A grant application was submitted to the Mississippi Arts Commission to assist with restoring the building façade. A 60% match was granted to cover $60,000 of the estimated $100,000 project.
The façade renovation project did not include the restoration of the neon sign and marquee. There were no grant monies to assist with the $62,673 project so we turned to the community to help provide the necessary funding. We succeeded in raising $50,000 toward the completion of the marquee. In the fall of 2008 the new facade was completed and renovations halted.
In 2011, the committee made a decision to use some of the funds to freshen up the appearance of the lobby and concession area. This included installing sheetrock, patching wall damage, painting ceiling and walls, installing doors and locks, installing baseboards, etc.
Most recently, the walls and the ceiling of the auditorium were freshly painted.
Long range plans are in the works for continued upgrades. The plans include larger updated and handicap accessible restrooms, a completed concession area which will accommodate catered events, and the room adjacent to the lobby will be transformed into a multifunctional event venue in itself. There are plans for the auditorium and the dressing rooms as well, not to mention the restoration of the balcony.
The majority of the funding for “Save the Haven” is generated from tuition and ticket sales for our Summer Theater Camp each July.
The Haven Theater provides our community a venue to enjoy the performing arts as well as other meetings and events. All board members and staff are volunteers, and the theater has no paid employees. All contributions to Save the Haven will be used in their entirety to ensure our theater will serve as an attractive venue for years to come.
The Brookhaven Little Theatre is a registered non-profit in Mississippi, so any and all donations are greatly appreciated and tax-deductible! Mail your check payable to:
Brookhaven Little Theatre
(SAVE THE HAVEN FUND)
PO Box 943
Brookhaven, MS 39602
Thank you! And, we hope to see you in the audience soon!