The Rose Theater is home to the Omaha Theater Company. In 1948, Junior League of Omaha members alongside Emmy Gifford were inspired to start a theater for young audiences in Omaha and one year later, the Omaha Junior Theater was born. The League was instrumental in growing the Omaha Junior Theater, one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the United States. In 1970, the Junior League of Omaha(JLO) pledged money for a Cultural Education Series to be produced for Omaha schools in cooperation with the Omaha Junior Theater, the Omaha Ballet Association and the Nebraska Arts Council. During the 1980s, JLO approved community activities and a new project for the theater company. Over the years, the Omaha Junior Theater grew – it was renamed Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater in 1977 and again renamed The Rose Blumkin Performing Arts Center in 1993. The Omaha Theater Company first staged a production at The Rose Theater in 1995. In 1998, in honor of the 80th Anniversary of the JLO, the League approved a grant to its past project – the Omaha Theater for Young People – now the Rose. This grant was a joint effort with the Junior League of Omaha Foundation, which contributed toward the grant. The relationship between JLO and The Rose continues. Many League members, past and present, have served on The Rose Theater’s Guild.
On Saturday, January 10th, Junior League members worked the opening production of Balloonacy for Done-In-A-Day! Balloonacy is a short play for children ages 2 and up. Done-In-A-Day Vice Chair Jessica Sock coordinated with The Rose to provide JLO volunteers for opening day. League volunteers helped by greeting people, signing them up for drawings and taking the winner to the stage, assisting in the coloring room, handing out refreshments, and managing the coatroom.
Prior to this experience, Jessica said she only knew that The Rose did theatrical productions for children and enjoyed learning about its summer educational opportunities. She said the experience gave her a greater appreciation for the organization: “I love the confidence it builds and the creative outlet that it offers to children.”
New Member Tanin Arkfeld used to attend The Rose growing up. She said her favorite part of the Done-In-A-Day project was interacting with children while they brainstormed their set and costume designs. “Providing children in the community an opportunity to embrace creative thought at the theater was rewarding. The arts can facilitate the growth and development of young people, regardless of their future career goals or interests. I hope Junior League continues to partner with The Rose on future endeavors.”
New Member Emily Anderson summed up the best part of working Done-In-A-Day project shifts: “I enjoyed seeing how involved this project was–it was instant gratification for me as a volunteer–to see the children delighted, inspired, and excited.”