More Than Movies: Volunteerism flourishes at Dietrich Theater

More Than Movies - Margie Young

The Dietrich Theater is a testament to the power of volunteerism.

The theater was re-imagined in 1998 and re-opened in 2001 by volunteers, first run by volunteers, saved from the Flood of 2011 by volunteers, and continuously maintained by a host of volunteers. We who work at the Dietrich feel our volunteers are part of our family. We are most grateful for all they do.

This year, our volunteers are stepping up to do even more to get us ready for the holidays. For the first time, a volunteer is in charge of our holiday decorations inside and outside the theater. Garlands, lights and exhibits deck the halls of the galleries, lobbies, green space – all installed by volunteers. A very loyal band of gift bagmakers works from September to Christmas to create the ever-popular perfect gifts: festive gift bags. Each contains two movie tickets, two popcorn bags to be filled, two candies, perfectly gift-wrapped and ready-to-go.

“The strength of our organization comes from our volunteers,” said Executive Director Erica Rogler. “They are integral to our operation, embodying the community spirit that is so alive at the Dietrich.”

She also pointed out our general manager is a volunteer, our program coordinator is a volunteer, one supervisor/projectionist is a volunteer, several concession workers are volunteers, some of our teachers are volunteers – the list goes on and on – Gala Night volunteers, Historic Walking Tour volunteer guides, maintenance volunteers, cultural programming volunteers, fundraising volunteers, some party organizers are volunteers.

We started with volunteers and they continue to enrich everything we do. At this time of Thanksgiving, we are full of gratitude.

Last week, I told you about the free showings of “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas” at 5:30 and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2. So I know your calendars are marked. This week, I will tell you about the Dietrich Holiday Workshop, set for 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Pure old-fashioned cookie decorating, ornament making, and balloon creations. All sponsored by our own Ace-Robbins, Inc.

Speaking of volunteers, they will be there at the Holiday Workshop to make sure all goes well, directing, helping and setting up. Everyone is invited. No one is turned away, and adults have been known to join in the fun, decorating their own cookies.

The Golden Days of Radio Players Performance, which is part of the Dietrich holiday experience, is just around the corner at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5. Director Esther Harmatz chose two plays, guaranteed to take the audience back to the 1930s and 1940s when radio entertainment reigned. One of the plays is a Sherlock Holmes Christmas mystery involving too many Santas. Volunteer actors dressed in period costumes and Esther with the sound effects make for a special night of fun and laughter. The performance will be followed by a reception, a good chance to meet the cast and enjoy light refreshment. Free performance and cake. Come join us.

The holidays are just beginning, so come and get in the spirit at the Dietrich. We try our darnedest to dazzle you with our decorations, because we want to see you soon and often.

More Than Movies

Margie Young

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or