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Englert Theatre re-opens after 18 months, unveils additions from capital campaign

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Englert Theatre in Iowa City recently re-opened after nearly 18 months of renovations. It was set to re-open in the summer of 2020, but because of the pandemic, it got pushed back over a year.

Englert showcased its renovations last week with an open house. In early 2019 they began the “Strengthen, Grow, Evolve” Campaign.

”Unfortunately because of the pandemic it was closed much longer than that, so it actually extended the period of time that we were doing the renovations,” said Interim Executive Director and Marketing Director, John Schickedanz.

Now, the theatre has an entirely renovated lounge area, an updated lobby, and a section dedicated to the 2,000 donors who were part of the capital campaign - which was a collaboration between Englert and FilmScene.

”That campaign really was about strengthening our historic spaces, growing into new spaces, and evolving our programming to better serve this community,” FilmScene Executive Director, Andrew Sherburne told TV-9. “We raised 5.5 million dollars in cash contributions and another million-plus in kind.”

As live theatre became one of the last parts of life to go back to normal, a year and a half after the start of the pandemic, there’s still some hesitancy.

“Before the pandemic, we could pretty easily predict what was going to happen with shows and how people would react to shows we were bringing to the theatre. There are so many things going on right now and people are still a little unsteady,” said Schickedanz.

For any event in the theatre, they require either a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination. Leaders say those safety measures are minor compared to how thrilled they are to bring back live in-person performances at the historic theater.

”It’s amazing to have people back in here,” said Schickedanz. “The response from the community has been nothing but positive.”

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