Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre has been providing opportunities for area residents to perform in and see Broadway style musicals, plays, and even children’s theatre since 1964. Read More »
The Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre Building Campaign Fund has received a $250,000 pledge from John B. McKinstry, a founding member and original board member of the community theater. This gift will secure naming rights to the new theater’s main auditorium. The name will be The Kamps Auditorium, in recognition of Jerome and Annette Kamps, also founders of the community theater in 1964.
In making this commitment, McKinstry emphasized the importance of the opportunity available to all pledgers to name various areas in the building as they help BDACT complete its fund drive. McKinstry said, “In 1964, Annette Kamps, founding director and president of the original board of directors, conceived the idea of BDACT. She recognized the need and lasting benefits to the people of Beaver Dam and the surrounding area. Together, Annette and Jerry nurtured and sustained the organization for over fifty years with their talents and constant on-call volunteering. Now, with THE KAMPS AUDITORIUM, Annette and Jerry will be honored, recognized, and appreciated in perpetuity.”
Currently a board member and co-chair of BDACT’s building campaign drive, Annette Kamps was the first president of the organization and a member of the board of directors multiple times. She has participated in almost all aspects of the theater, as a director and producer of many memorable plays and musicals, as a Tell-A-Tale Council Chair, as a Strategic Planning Committee member, as a chair of numerous production, marketing, and organizational committees, as a stage crew member, and as a creative drama teacher. She wrote the first handbook for the theater which, in revised forms, has continued to be a production guideline. In 1986, Annette received the Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts. She was employed as the first Managing Director for the theater and Executive Director for the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association from 2001 to 2008. As a playwright, she directed and wrote the book for BDACT’s original production, “Any Color You Like So Long as It’s Black,” and more recently, the drama, “Mother’s Curtain.”
Jerome Kamps, who was an art teacher for the Beaver Dam Unified School District for thirty-four years, dedicated his talents to design and create sets for about thirty productions throughout BDACT’s history.
He was particularly enthused about involving his students and former students in set work, and especially treasures his work on the elaborate sets of “Mame,” and the first productions of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “The King and I,” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” all directed by Annette. He contributed many hours to other production and organizational committees, including playbill designs, promotions, and special events. He was a founding member of the Beaver Dam Area Arts Association, was BDAAA board president during its transition to the Seippel Center for the Arts, served several terms as a board director, and is currently a member of the Exhibit Committee. He chaired many BDAAA exhibits and presented a major retrospective exhibit of his own work this past summer.
As charter members of what was then called, “Beaver Dam Community Theatre,” McKinstry and the Kamps began a life-long friendship as well as a life-long commitment to the organization. McKinstry was Assistant Director for the group’s first show, “Harvey,” while the Kamps worked behind the scenes with other enthusiasts to ensure the success of the show and the organization. McKinstry continuously supported the theater in many capacities, including board director, committee chair, show sponsor, and major contributor for the purchase of BDACT’s current building in 1983. He also maintains the tradition of the McKinstrys as faithful annual patrons, including his parents, Randall and Bea Bonner McKinstry.
“BDACT President Dr. Jen Espenscheid commented, “We deeply appreciate Mr. McKinstry’s outstanding generosity and commitment to the community theater. This is a huge step toward the realization of the conversion of the school building into an exceptional venue that will greatly benefit the theater as well as the general community.”
With the McKinstry pledge, BDACT is now at the $1.25 million dollar level. The goal is to begin reconstruction of its recently purchased building, the former St. Katharine Elementary School, 117 W. Maple Street, when the projected $2.4 million is reached through donations and pledges. Contributors of any amount are welcome and can send checks to BDACT Building Fund/ P.O. Box 216, Beaver Dam WI. To make a long-term pledge, call Jim Flynn, 920-887-8497.