Oakland Center Prepares to Resume Plays

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With its doors closed because of the pandemic, Oakland Center for the Arts faced an uncertain future in 2020, but a gift from the Hine Memorial Fund kept the theater company going. 

After 10 months without programming, the theater reopened in January thanks to the $15,000 grant for Oakland’s Au-Stars program, which provides theater education to kids with autism. Board members also donated and made loans to the theater group.

“We will begin by offering small classes, small musical reviews and plays both online and in person to generate income,” says Executive Director Brendan Byers. “We hope by this summer to have our summer camp, in place for youth providing education, breakfast and lunch. While the camp generates income, we offer a huge number of partial and full scholarships based on need. We also hope to be back to hosting  full-scale productions for kids ages 4 to 18 in the spring  and no later than this summer.”

Oakland’s Kids First initiative expanded to eight programs and an acting program for seniors is now in place. To take shows out into area schools and libraries, Oakland purchased a van with the help of a $10,000 grant from Denise DeBartolo York. The traveling theater programs received support from Platt Insurance Group and Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC.

Oakland was also able to award a $1,500 scholarship to a graduating student preparing to attend Youngstown State University