The local theater arts in DeSoto County received a big financial boost from the City of Horn Lake this week, and if you have stayed in any of the city’s hotels or motels, you were part of the reason behind the boost.
During Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, board members approved a $10,000 check be given to DeSoto Family Theatre (DFT). During a check presentation on Friday, Mayor Allen Latimer said the money comes from the city proceeds of the local and private hotel-motel fees for lodging stays. The repeal of the $2 additional tax per nightly stay was extended in the recent Mississippi State Legislature.
“We’re just blessed that we are able to do it,” Latimer said. “They contribute so much to the community in the way of helping young people and older people get into the theater and really progress. They put on a marvelous production with each program that they have. It’s really first-class.”
DFT representative Dan Lehman, in accepting the check, said the dollars are helping ensure community theater remains vibrant in DeSoto County.
“It’s going to be used to help continue providing the community with theater and theater arts,” Lehman said. “That’s through every aspect, from high school all the way through to community theater, to help us continue to provide dinner theater in many locations around DeSoto County.”
The funding will also allow for scholarships and support of the community through the art of entertainment.
The DeSoto Family Theatre recently posted on its website that the April production of “Little Women” had to be canceled, as well as the original 2022-23 program schedule, due to the loss of its warehouse space to build and store sets.
There will also be a loss of the traditional performance space with the upcoming renovation of the Landers Center. Alternatives and other opportunities are being worked on to continue theater in the interim.
However, the same posting stated that the renovation will result in a new and improved performance space for DFT when the Landers Center work is finished. Summer camps are continuing as planned and DFT is working on dinner theater productions in the county away from the Landers Center.
A 20th anniversary celebration is also being planned for the fall as DFT sets out on a new decade of community theater.
Photo: From left, Horn Lake City Administrator/City Clerk Jim Robinson, DeSoto Family Theatre representative Dan Lehman, and Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer with the check presentation. (Bob Bakken/DeSoto County News)