Egyptian Theatre to take part in Give DeKalb County

The Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb is gearing up for Give DeKalb County on May 3. This year the theater is raising funds for a new digital HD movie projector.

When the Egyptian Theatre first opened its doors in 1929 it was as a grand movie palace and that tradition continues today with the showing of seasonal film series, free kids’ movies, community film series and more. But the current projector is failing and in order to better serve theater patrons, it must be replaced.

Be sure to tune in on Facebook on May 3 starting at 8 a.m. as the Egyptian Theatre will be posting at the top of the hour throughout the day with donation updates and community member interviews.

To donate to the Egyptian Theatre on May 3, visit lightscameradonate.org all day or donate in person with cash or check at the DeKalb County Community Foundation building, 475 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. in DeKalb, is owned and operated by Preservation of Egyptian Theatre Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Posted in Press Releases Tagged

Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Event Services Director, Brandon Pugh

Interview conducted by: Sydney Johnson – Egyptian Theatre Intern

This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week! I had the pleasure of interviewing our very own Event Services Director, Brandon Pugh. Part of being the Event Services Director means coordinating the wonderful volunteers who so graciously dedicate their time to helping the theatre. If you have volunteered with us in the past, THANK YOU! We cannot say it enough, the volunteers are the reason the theatre thrives.

SYDNEY: How did you get to where you are today at the Egyptian?

BRANDON: I started interning with the Egyptian Theatre in September 2015 and stayed on until my graduation in May 2016. When I started at the Egyptian as an intern, I was in charge of some marketing and communications work. I thought about what it would be like to be able to work here after graduation and was hopeful that something may fall into place. Having come from an adept understanding of theatre and some performing, I felt like I would do well here. When I left however, there wasn’t much talk of expanding staffing so I left, not knowing if I would be back. After graduating in May 2016, I was still living in DeKalb and was working part time at the Aurora Outlet Mall. In June 2016, our Executive Director, Alex Nerad reached out to inquire about my interest in coming on board as a staff member. It took me about 30 seconds to realize how passionate I was about the Egyptian Theatre and to realize that I wanted to lend my hand in making sure patrons enjoy themselves for years to come. I immediately said ‘YES’! I was first brought on Part Time as House Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, which meant that I was overseeing the Guest Experience and recruitment of volunteers. Coming from a background of seven years’ worth of retail, Alex felt that my understanding of Customer Service would benefit the Egyptian Theatre. I worked in a part time capacity from June 2016 until May 2017 when I was brought on Full Time as the Event Services Director and Volunteer Coordinator. I now handle all Customer Service related issues, hospitality, and recruitment/training/recognition/retention of volunteers. In all, hard work, dedication, and a love for the arts is how I got to where I am today.

SYDNEY: About how many volunteers do you coordinate?

BRANDON: The number of Volunteers I coordinate is dependent upon event. In total, I am pulling from a volunteer base of about 120 dedicated, wonderful people! I am able to track and organize volunteers through a software program called Volgistics. This intuitive system allows volunteers the opportunity to schedule themselves online, when it is convenient for them. Before I started, sign up was handled merely by back and forth email communication. By implementing Volgistics, I am now able track service hours, birthdays, etc. and in return am able to recognize volunteers in a way that was not available before. The number of volunteers continues to grow steadily as we work toward a steady and reliable infrastructure in terms of volunteer management.

SYDNEY: What is your favorite part about being the Event Services Director?

BRANDON: My favorite part about being Event Services Director is being able to interact with people. Whether it be our wonderful volunteers whom I love hearing stories from or whether it be patrons coming to enjoy their first show at the Egyptian Theatre. Being able to talk with people about their past experiences with the Egyptian, how they’ve never been here, but will definitely be back, etc. A big part of being Event Services Director and Volunteer Coordinator is making sure that our volunteers feel that the job they’re doing is making an impact on not only our theatre, but for the City of DeKalb in general. Being able to congratulate a volunteer on the birth of their first grandchild, or being able to wish a volunteer ‘Happy Birthday’ because they’ve chose to volunteer with us on their birthday is always very rewarding to me! I could go on about all my ‘favorite’ things, but we’d be here awhile!

SYDNEY: What would you say to someone considering becoming a volunteer?

BRANDON: Go for it! It’s a fun and worthwhile experience! Being a volunteer at the Egyptian Theatre means you are helping to advance our mission of keeping the Egyptian as a regional performing arts center for entertainment and community involvement. Volunteering at the Egyptian Theatre, I think, is a rewarding prospect; for 88 years, the Egyptian has been host to copious amounts of friends, families, neighbors, community members, etc. and by volunteering your time, you are helping keep the theatre alive and flourishing. It is because of volunteers that we are able to host the amount of programming that we do. I want to note that back in August 2016, the Egyptian Theatre was only presenting three shows a season; fast-forward a year and the Egyptian Theatre is presenting twelve shows a season all of which require help from volunteers. Our way of thanking volunteers at an event is allowing them to enjoy the entertainment, a bag of popcorn, and a fountain drink that they can refill as many times as they please. Volunteerism continues to impact not only the Egyptian Theatre, but the City of DeKalb.

SYDNEY: What are some of your future goals here at the Egyptian?

BRANDON: I would love to be able to assist in getting the Egyptian Theatre to the point that we can begin to host our own Broadway Series, similar to what you would find at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL or The Coronado Theatre in Rockford, IL. This means a pretty extensive renovation and addition would have to happen, but I think it is possible! The Egyptian continues to operate at what seems like ‘max capacity’ even when we have smaller events as our concessions stand and restrooms do not offer adequate space. This all relates back to the patron experience; we want patrons to not only enjoy the entertainment on stage, but also enjoy the theatre in and of itself. While I cannot as one person see this process through, it is my goal to assist, if and when possible!  I also have the goal of wanting to grow our volunteer pool to somewhere around 250 volunteers. I feel this is a sufficient number and takes in to account our increased programming. Being able to retain and maintain a pool of volunteers as such poses some difficulty as a large portion of volunteers are funneled through the university. However, I am positive that we can get to this number just with community support!

If you are interested in volunteering, click here to apply!

Posted in News

Backstage at the Egyptian: Kishwaukee Kiwanis

Interview conducted by: Sydney Johnson – Egyptian Theatre Intern

Jim Barker is in charge of this year’s Kishwaukee Kiwanis Community Talent Showcase, which is on Saturday, April 7th at 7:00PM. This is the second annual talent show, which they so graciously chose the Egyptian to host once again. We had the pleasure of interviewing Jim about the upcoming show.

SYDNEY: Can you tell me a little bit about the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Club?

JIM: Kishwaukee Kiwanis of DeKalb are getting ready to celebrate our 50th year as a club.  Our main community project has been in the development and construction of bike paths in the DeKalb/Sycamore area in cooperation with DeKalb Park District.  Historically, we were also know for the Kiwanis Haunted House that was held at the Hopkins Park Shelter House from the 1970’s until 2006.  Along with the KShow, we are getting ready to celebrate the 20th “Biking With Beanzie” sponsored bike ride in July, an event that now draws upwards of 700 cyclists to the area every summer.

SYDNEY: What are you most looking forward to about this event?

JIM: For me, this is my first opportunity to be artistic director for a show like this. I was stage manager last year and really enjoyed the experience, but also now being in charge of creating the show itself is a lot of fun, and I hope I don’t screw it up too badly.

SYDNEY: How are the acts selected for the show? Is there an audition process?

JIM: Acts were a combination of returnees from last year, auditions from earlier this year, and some acts that we recruited because we knew of them and thought they would be good additions. For the most part, I plan to bring in new acts every year, and bring back a select number of acts from previous years. Some of the new acts will come from open auditions we will hold in late January, or from acts that we recruit.

SYDNEY: What can the audience expect when attending this event?

JIM: The audience can expect a diverse range of talent this year including vocalists, large bands, an acapella group, and even a Yo-Yo artiste.

SYDNEY: Why did you choose the Egyptian to host this event for the second year in a row?

JIM: It’s a great venue for a show like this, and the support we receive from the staff is tremendous!

Don’t miss out on this amazing showcase, click here to get your tickets now!

Posted in News

Egyptian Eggs?

As Egyptians prepared for the afterlife, many of them readied their tombs for their final resting place. The most elaborate tombs in ancient times were those built by the Egyptians for their kings, the pharaohs. And theses tombs may have contained colored eggs!

Ancient Egyptians believed that the journey the deceased had to make to the afterlife was a very long journey. So the living would often supply the deceased with all the amenities needed to make the transition by placing certain items in their tomb.

Things you could expect to find in the tombs of the nobility were food items to sustain them on their journey as well as jewelry to ensure they traveled in style to the afterlife.

But the most surprising item you would find would be a basket of colored eggs. It was with these eggs that the deceased pharaohs would make the transition to the afterlife.

As the deceased approached the gateway to the afterlife, a single egg would be removed from the basket. The deceased would then hand this colored egg to the guardian of the gateway and say these words.

“April Fools.”

Posted in News Tagged

Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Chef Patrick

Interview conducted by: Sydney Johnson – Egyptian Theatre Intern

We are so excited to welcome Chefs: A Sizzling Kitchen Showdown THIS SATURDAY at 8:00p.m. This is going to be an unforgettable show that you won’t want to miss! I had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Chef Patrick this week, and you can read the hilarious interview below.

SYDNEY: What is your favorite recipe?

PATRICK: I have a new favorite every day. Today, I’m alternating between my special 2 week, 64 ingredient mole, and my classic 7 layer liquid nitrogen Pavlova.

SYDNEY: What is it about this event that makes for a fun night out?

PATRICK: Beyond the simple draw of handsome strippers and delicious recipes, one factor that makes the evening so exciting is unpredictability. The audience will pick ingredients and challenges, they’ll get to interact with the chefs on stage, they’ll pick winners, and they might even get to help our chefs undress. Nobody – including me – really knows what’s going to happen.

SYDNEY: What do you do to prepare before a show?

PATRICK: I like to loosen up and focus with an espresso and a routine of nude hot yoga and ambidextrous julienning.

SYDNEY: What do you like most about performing?

PATRICK: Well, I’ve been a performer one way or another my whole life, so I love attention, I love entertaining. There’s no more gratifying feeling than when an audience of thousands is hanging on your every word to see what happens next. I have the power to keep them in suspense, to titillate them, to gratify them, and in truth I love giving people a spectacle they’re going to remember.

SYDNEY: What can the audience expect when attending this show?

PATRICK: Expect sensual and sensuous entertainment, expect to have many senses tickled, expect beautiful men and sumptuous cuisine, expect to participate, expect the unexpected.

Tickets are still available for Chefs, click here to get yours now!

Posted in News