Crime concerns cancels theater production

Local News
Theatre company cancels due to crime

Update: 6:33 p.m., 5/31/19, Friday

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — A theatre group in Danville will not be performing this year. Group leaders say part of that’s because of a spike in violence. 

The Lincoln Park Theatre Company has been performing since 2005. They use an outdoor stage at Lincoln Park.

The company uses a lot of children in their performances. They say a lot of parents were worried about kids being in the park at late as 10 p.m. The other issue is the safety of people watching the plays. 

“It was just the totality of all of those circumstances that just made us decide to take a hiatus this year,” said Lincoln Park Theatre Company Treasurer Ron Soderstrom. 

Between Sunday and Wednesday, five people were shot in five separate shootings in Danville, but company leaders say it’s more than just recent crime that led to their decision. 

“We were working here a year or so ago, and we were having a lot of shots fired about a block and half away from here during the daylight hours.”

“There was a shooting that occurred a half an hour after we just got done working on the set here in the park.”

Company members are often at the park late into the night. That’s another reason they want to be careful.

“We have to build everything like a traveling show, and so we’re here for usually two weeks, long hours, sometimes six or seven hours a day.”

Even though they canceled this year, they’re holding out for a change. 

“I’m a retired Danville police officer, Chief Yates was my commander, I have all the faith in the world in him. I know he’ll get the job done. I also know it just takes a little bit of time and you have to be patient.”

Police responded to this move. They say they’re working on a program called problem-oriented policing. That includes park patrols, community building, and crime interdiction and prevention. Company leaders say, if change happens, they’ll be back. 

“Our goal is not to vacate Lincoln Park, we’d sure like to come back and continue on where we left off.”

The police department has also sent officers and staff to community meetings. They believe that will help them get more help from the public. In just the month of June, the department it adding 300 extra patrol hours.

The Lincoln Park Theater Company is planning on doing a fundraising show in the fall. They’ll have a production meeting soon to decide on a date. Keep your eye on their Facebook page here. They’re also in need of volunteers and board members. 

Original: 2:41 p.m., 5/31/19, Friday 

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Lincoln Park Theatre Company won’t be performing this August.

They said the biggest reason is crime concerns near that area.

They announced plans to perform ‘Seussical’ as its 2019 summer production.

The show was scheduled for August 8th through the 11th at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center.

They said they’re hoping to come back bigger and better next year because of efforts from police and city leaders to stop crime.

 

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