Copperstar theater group seeks funding for own home facility - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Copperstar theater group seeks funding for own home facility

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Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 7:25 am | Updated: 4:03 pm, Fri Jul 11, 2014.

Copperstar Repertory Company is known for drawing big crowds to the theatrical productions and musical performances it holds at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts. Nearly 10,000 theatergoers saw Copperstar’s productions last season alone.

Now the company is relying on those big crowds once again, as the Chandler-based nonprofit raises funds to build its own venue.

For the past four years, the Gilbert facility has been home to Copperstar’s productions of such favorites as Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, The King and I, The Music Man — and many more. Now, leaders of the growing East Valley organization say it’s time for a site of their own — at least one for rehearsals. set building, and office space — and they’re asking their long list of supporters for help.

“With a facility of our own to call home where we can rehearse, provide classes, workshops and camps, build sets and costumes and have offices, we can make more of a name for ourselves and make an even bigger and better impact in the lives of community members of all ages.” said Copperstar president Mary-Jo Okawa.

In order to raise funds, Copperstar is using a type of fundraising called “crowdfunding” through, a website serving as a hub for independent community fundraising projects.

Crowdfunding is not that different from normal fundraising; the community pledges donations to the company, and supporters are allowed to pledge as much or as little as they want. Through, however, if Copperstar does not reach its goal of $25,000 then the donations are not collected — meaning supporters won’t be out the money.

A lack of storage and prep space is one of the key reasons for trying for the new site. Rehearsals and auditions for Copperstar’s productions have been forced into school cafeterias and classrooms. Costumes for the productions are made in the dressing rooms in the back of the Higley center, while sets for the productions are made in members’ garages and backyards.

“We have a lot of supporters, participants and fans now, and we are hoping that they will show their support for Copperstar in this way,” Okawa said. The online fundraising began May 26 and goes through July 1.

Copperstar produces four large-scale stage shows each season, while providing camps and workshops for participants of all ages, specifically training participants in singing, acting and dance. Heading into its fifth season of productions at the Higley center, the organization’s leaders say Copperstar is thriving, and despite the recent difficult economic climate, hopes to expand. In addition to an audience greater than 9,900, more than 200 community members participated either on stage or behind the scenes. Copperstar also recently began an educational outreach program called “Class Act.”

The program brought musicals into school settings statewide, with workshops for more than 10,000 students in grades K-12, according to a press release.

For more information on the Copperstar Repertory Company, visit For more information or to contribute to Copperstar’s crowdfunding campaign to build its own studio, visit

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