The McPherson College Performing Arts Department will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its First Nighters organization with a production of “Another Antigone,” on March 8-10 at 7:30 p.m. at Mingenback Theatre. An anniversary meal for First Nighters will be served prior to the Friday and Saturday performances at 6:15 p.m.
First Nighters, the name of the supportive season-ticket holders, was established 40 years ago by Professor and Chair of the McPherson College Performing Arts Department Rick Tyler as a way to help supplement the new theater program’s budget at the time by offering a dinner theatre experience for its members.
The first event, which was hosted prior to the college’s production of “Antigone,” began with an hors d’oeuvres buffet served in Friendship Hall to a selected group that he hoped would become patrons of the theatre department. There was a great response and the organization began collecting memberships the next fall.
When it began, a meal was served only before the first performance of each production. However, over time the organization grew and more meals were added and more space was available after Mingenback Theatre was built. At one point, the organization had 250 members and some years earned enough to double the theatre’s budget. Today a meal is served to First Nighter members prior to every performance.
“Another Antigone,” a modern retelling of Sophocles’ “Antigone” adapted by A.R. Gurney, will close out the McPherson College Performing Arts season. It will also be the final production for Dr. Tyler who has been designing sets for the McPherson College Performing Arts Department for 41 years. He will retire at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.
Reservations for the final production of this season can be made by calling the Mingenback Theatre box office at (620) 242-0444 or emailing email@example.com. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3.50 for seniors and students.