Give troupe pat on back for renovations

Good for Harlequin Productions.

The theater company has been awarded a $150,000 grant - the largest in the organization's history - to replace the leaky roof of State Theater.

The grant is from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Wash., and puts the theater company one step closer toward its goal of raising $1.15 million to retire its mortgage and further renovate the theater.

Scot Whitney, managing artistic director, said Harlequin has raised about $712,000. "All that money is for capital improvements," he said. "Those are our top priorities."

State Theater, at 204 Fourth Ave. E., was built in 1949, and movies were shown there until the mid-1990s. Harlequin bought the theater in 1997 and raised more than $1 million to transform it into an intimate live theater. But it left unfinished the final renovations to make it a working theater house, such as building dressing rooms, adding administrative offices and fixing the roof and marquee. Whitney said it will cost about $200,000 to replace the roof.

It's terrific to see the way the South Sound community has embraced Harlequin and its fundraising campaign.