Match Makers
Verona Area Community Theater kicks off $100,000 campaign challenge


On its way to raising the funds needed to build a new facility to accommodate its rapidly growing youth theater program, the Verona Area Community Theater is receiving a little help from a friend.

An anonymous donor has pledged a $100,000 matching gift challenge grant. For every two dollars raised, the donor will match that amount with a one-dollar gift between now and the end of February 2016.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to provide this match and hope the community—its businesses, residents and organizations—are up to the challenge,” said the donor.

If the campaign is successful, VACT will raise an additional $300,000, reach its $1.6 million goal for the project, and break ground in March. In addition to contributions from local businesses, organizations and community members, VACT received a $50,000 grant through the Madison Community Foundation’s Community Impact Fund last year to aid in the capital campaign effort.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity,” said Terry Dvorak, VACT board president. “Thanks to the generosity of all of our donors, we are excited with the possibility of opening our new doors in 2016 so that we can continue to provide affordable and cultural experiences for Verona and surrounding communities to enjoy.”

The new facility, located adjacent to the Mlitary Ridge State Trail, will feature a 150-seat theater, as well as three rehearsal rooms, a scene and costume shop, and a lobby with a concession stand. The current facility, housed inside a metal pole barn, is predominately used as a rehearsal space. VACT performs most of its shows—six to eight productions every season—at the Verona Area High School Performing Arts Center.

In addition to providing a safer and modern environment, new amenities such as additional breakout space will allow VACT to run multiple programs at the same time and include more people. Envisioned as a collaborative community building, the theater will also offer multipurpose space for other community groups, such as Rhapsody Arts Center and the city of Verona Recreation Department’s dance program. In addition, non-arts groups may use the space for meetings and events.

Providing educational and artistic opportunities for children has been a mainstay of VACT since its creation in 1992. The theater’s annual summer production—its largest performance of the season—includes cast members of all ages. In 2004, VACT launched a children’s program. The following year, the first kids-only production, “RATS! The Musical” debuted with a cast of thirty children.

As the program continued to grow, VACT added a kindergarten through second-grade program in 2008 and a teen program in 2010. Today, the organization is the largest children’s theater in the area with more than two hundred members representing dozens of area schools from Verona and surrounding communities. The program’s affordability—no more than $20 per person—is part of its popularity. So is its quality: members receive fifty hours of instruction and performance time for each production.

VACT produces four all-youth shows every year with some 275 children of all ages as cast members and crew. With more rehearsal space and a dedicated theater, VACT will be able to produce eight theatrical productions annually with performing and training opportunities for more than six hundred youth and adults.

To learn more about VACT and the “Follow the Dream, It’s Possible” building campaign and to make a matching gift, visit