Stage III Community Theater recently raised more than $100,000 to build new customizable seating, new risers, and an entirely new stage floor.

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That's according to Stage III General Manager Kris Kontour.

The whole project is to create a fully customizable space for the theater, because it opens up the amount of shows we can produce, and the types of shows that we can produce," Kontour told K2 Radio News. "It was just an idea we were tossing around in a board meeting one day, talking about how wonderful it would be to customize our space to suit different shows."

Kontour said that the original seating was donated by the former Eastridge Mall movie theater. They were getting old and it was time to replace them, so board members asked about looking into moveable seating. Kontour revealed that they got a quote from a company called Winger who, he said, is the only company in the market that builds customizable seating.

"I saw the quote and I was like 'Yeah, right. Not gonna do that,'" Kontour laughed. "But I brought it up to the board and they thought it was something that we should just put out feelers to see if it was something we could do. And so we decided to go for it and see what we could do, and that's how it all got started."

It may have seemed like a pipe dream, but for those who have lived in Casper for a long time, it wasn't surprising.

The quote was $109,000 plus an additional $5,000 for new stage flooring. It was a lot of money, but throughout the last year, they were able to raise the funds necessary to replace the seating and the floor.

"We just set it up as a fundraising campaign," Kontour said. "We called it the 'Buy a Seat Fundraising Campaign' and it had different tiers that people could donate to, and they would get different rewards for donating to those tiers."

Kontour also said that they reached out to some anonymous donors who they thought might be interested in making a larger donation. Additionally, Stage III worked with WyoGives as well.

After a year of fundraising, they had enough money to begin construction.

Beginning with the next theater season, Stage III will new seats, new risers, and a brand new stage floor - all thanks to art lovers in Casper and beyond.

"Of course, thank you," Kontour beamed. "Thank you for supporting the arts. Stage III Community Theater has been in this community for 40 years, providing artistic opportunities and entertainment opportunities. And it's so great to see everybody come out and help support us; to guarantee that we're here for another 40 years."

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