Despite copper theft, the show still goes on

Thursday, April 24, 2008 | 10:56 p.m. CDT; updated 6:10 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Earlier this week, members of a community theater at Nifong Park met for rehearsal for their upcoming play, King Lear. They went to the tech booth to turn on lights and realized much of their equipment was stolen.

“The oldest tradition in theater is the show must go on,” said Byron Scott, the Maplewood Barn Theatre treasurer and an actor.

And it will go on.

The nonprofit theater lost $6,000 worth of equipment Tuesday, including most of the theater’s copper wiring and cables.

The members won’t let the theft deter them. Instead, they are making adjustments.

The theater’s 35th anniversary season begins in two weeks, but the wiring can’t be replaced for the opening performance on May 9.

Director Russ Scott plans to use thunderstrips and timpanies for his sound effects. The opening and intermission music may have to be cut, but for the most part King Lear will remain the same.

Members of the Maplewood theatre think the robbers were after copper because neither the light board nor the sound board was stolen.

They found the metal bar connected to the padlock had been twisted and snapped from the door frame. The deadbolt had been removed by a crow bar, and the door was splintered up the side. Inside, speaker equipment had been stolen, and the hooks that normally contained cables and wires were empty.

This wasn’t the first time the Maplewood theatre has been burglarized. Only a month ago, copper wire was stolen from the top of a 40-foot light pole.

When the members discovered Tuesday’s theft, they called the police immediately, but did not stop rehearsal.

Instead the crew went inside and practiced the third act, Russ Scott said.

Russ Scott talked with the police for an hour while the assistant director led the crew.

“This is why we have an assistant director,” Russ Scott said.

Financially though, it hurts. The barn has insurance, but the deductible is going to cost $1,000 out of their yearly budget of $24,000.

As a result, the Maplewood Barn Theatre is accepting donations. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at

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