GLOVERSVILLE - The volunteers who run the historic Glove Theatre have had their share of ups and downs in recent years, but this week, they have two good reasons to pat themselves on the back.
As the Glove prepares to host up to 100 visitors from the Theatre Historical Society of America this week, the theater's board has announced the accomplishment of a major fundraising goal.
The visiting group of theater-history enthusiasts, most of whom are involved in the restoration and operation of old theaters around the United States, will conduct its annual Conclave Theatre Tour in upstate New York and the Berkshires this week. The group, traveling in two buses, will start its tour Tuesday in Schenectady and continue Wednesday with visits to the Palace Theatre in Albany, the Troy Music Hall and other Capital Region theaters. On Thursday morning, the group will visit venues in Utica and Rome before arriving in Gloversville, where it will conduct a business meeting and tour the Glove Theatre and the Schine Theatre Museum, which is curated by the Glove's volunteer director, Richard Samrov.
The marquee over the entrance to the Glove Performing Arts Center is seen Friday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Ackerbauer)
"It's a big thing for them, and it's a big thing for us," he said. Samrov, who worked at the Glove as an usher when he was a young man, is researching and writing a book about the theater's history.
He said he has developed a friendship with Karen Colizzi Noonan, co-chairwoman of the Theatre Historical Society, and he is thrilled the organization selected the Glove for the special honor of hosting its annual meeting.
"They could meet in any theater, but they picked the Glove," he said, with a note of pride in his voice.
'Discover the Glove'
Last year, the Glove Performing Arts Center board reached out to Renee Crown, the daughter of the late J. Meyer Schine, who established the Glove back in 1920. She and her husband, Lester Crown, who live in Chicago, agreed to provide a 2-to-1 challenge grant, effectively tripling the money from other donors, up to $100,000.
Board President Mark Finkle said people in the community response to the "Discover the Glove" fundraising campaign was tremendous.
"We did it - we raised $50,000," he said this week. "You can't run a theater forever on $100,000, but at least it gives us some operating funds. We're very grateful to the Crowns."
Finkle also praised the many local donor and the volunteers who keep the theater going, including Samrov and Marc Norton, who he said both volunteer "eight million hours a week" behind the scenes.
The board wants to invest some of the money in physical improvements that will allow the community to see how much progress is being made in restoring the theater.
"We definitely will be doing some internal improvements in the theater," Finkle said, mentioning the walls, seats and concession as areas in need of work. The carriage house building behind the theater also needs renovation, he said, and the theater's heating system should be converted from oil to gas as a cost-saving measure.
Meanwhile, Finkle said, he's looking forward to Thursday's gathering of theater enthusiasts, many of whom have years of experience in theater restorations.
"I'm looking forward to picking their brains for hours," he said.
For more information about the Glove and a schedule of its upcoming performances, see www.glovetheatre.org.