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National figure to help Worm Creek Opera House

By By Chris Cole
Published On: Aug 24 2013 12:22:02 AM CDT

A nationally know media personality is looking to help the Preston performing arts community.

PRESTON, Idaho -

The Worm Creek Opera House in Preston is in need of some repairs, but a nationally known personality will be helping out next week by already selling out the 250 seat theater in less than eight hours.

The Worm Creek Opera House was built in 1930. The walls are the original color and the chandeliers are original too, but time wears them down.

According to its website, wormcreek.org, Preston was originally called Worm Creek, after a creek that runs along the east side of town. Many people didn't like the name Worm Creek, so they changed the name to Preston. When the opera house was built as a center for cultural activities and entertainment, Worm Creek seemed natural to them.

"We're responsible for all maintenance of the building,” said Paul Swainston, treasurer of the Franklin County Theater Arts Council. “The county doesn't take any responsibility for maintenance or improvements of any kind.”

The FCTAC has already spent $38,000 on a digital movie projector, a cost they had originally expected to run about $100,000. The seats were used when they were donated to them 15 years ago. Some are broken, some are torn but all of them are worn.

"To get our new seats it's going to be about $45,000," Swainston said.

And they need to expand the stage. With 'The Nutcracker' performances every two years, their growing cast needs room to perform. So they raise money as best as they can.

And then someone who could make a major difference caught wind of the fundraiser. Glenn Beck, the nationally known radio and TV show host, offered to help.

“I'm so excited about it I can't believe it,” Swainston said.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, Beck will put on a presentation, including a question and answer session.

With any historic building like the Worm Creek Opera House, you need money to preserve the history while maintaining it for present and future use. The hope is that Beck's presence will help bring in donations.

Swainston says they've always managed to somehow raise the money for the things they need.  Beck's offer was very unexpected, but they felt it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

And whether you agree with his political views or not, Beck is doing the presentation for free.  All tickets paid for through donations go to the opera house.

“I think it's just absolutely wonderful,” said Swainston.

Tickets are sold out, but if you are interested in going to the event, there is a long-shot possibility that some seats may open up, if someone doesn't pick up their tickets.

To check on that, you can call 208-852-0088. The suggested donation cost for the tickets are $40. You can also send questions ahead of time to wormcreek@gmail.com. 

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