The Legacy Theater in Carthage begins its third year of shows, with Amy Walen as the new theater operations manager.
Walen is at the theater box office from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday to sell tickets to upcoming performances, but her job goes far beyond ticket sales.
“Of course, we have to get tickets sold so we can continue to be a venue. We wouldn’t have the theater without people coming to the shows,” Walen said.
In this part time position, Walen works with the volunteer Legacy Theater Foundation board and its three committees.
With the performance recruitment committee, Walen helps secure performers, finalizing details of their contracts and taking care of their needs. This can mean a place to stay, meals, or even decorating a large Christmas tree for the Hughes Brothers’ Christmas show.
On the production side, she may need to provide special sound or lighting equipment for a show.
To promote marketing, Walen will work with travel services. Bus groups from outside the area are an important part of the growing Legacy Theater audiences.
“On the operational side, I need to be sure the facility is clean and at the right temperature. If I find a problem, I deal with it or report it to the board,” she said.
“I go to all board and committee meetings and represent the theater at community organizations.”
The theater works with local restaurants to create “dinner and a show” options, bringing more customers to other businesses in the area.
“It is hard to explain all I do because I’ve just barely begun. I will take things as they come. I don’t know what all I’ll do because it hasn’t come up yet,” she said. Walen volunteers on the marketing and fundraising committees, and in the ticket office before being named operations manager, the only paid position at Legacy Theater.
Walen grew up in North Dakota and graduated from West Fargo High School, but she stresses, “My home is here now.”
She attended Millikin University in Decatur for two years, majoring in theater administration, and graduated after two more years at BYU Idaho majoring in business management with an emphasis in finance.
After graduation in 2014, she moved back to Illinois with a job at the Carthage branch of First Community Bank.
“All during my high school years, I was heavily involved in theater. Every play they put on, I did something with the theater. In the last two years, I was more on the stage management side,” Walen said. She was involved as an officer in drama club and created a high school improve group.
This continued at Millikin where she was production manager of Pipe Dreams, a student run theater and worked with its faculty/community board. She had many theater classes in make-up, staging, and dance, as well as operations.
“Being in theater has always been a dream of mine. It is nice to be able to use my business degree in theater.”
Looking ahead, Walen hopes to see the theater’s audiences reaching out beyond the Quincy, Burlington and Macomb regions.
“I want the Legacy to be a location people want to come to. People are looking for unique places to go that are not too far away,” she said. “I like how the theater is reaching for broader audiences with different types of shows.”
This spring the theater features Highwaymen Live, a country tribute band; Dennis Watkins, a mentalist; and Midwest Dueling Pianos.
“I’d like to see more on the educational side. Drama classes, perhaps ask the performers who come if they would do a workshop."
“It all goes back to our mission, to enrich, educate, inspire and entertain. That’s the job of the manager, to make sure we are fulfilling that mission in each performance. I want our audiences have a good experience in the theater. And not just a good show, but interacting with people at the theater.”