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Canebrake Players officially obtain non-profit status

The Canebrake Players, a local group that brings live theatre to the community, has been granted status as a 501c3, officially making it a non-profit organization.

Representatives of the Canebrake Players said they hope their new status as a non-profit will allow for businesses and individuals to donate to their organization, helping them to fund some long-needed projects.

“Our productions generally break even financially, but we have a lot of projects we want to get done that are expensive,” said Donna Bishop who serves as the group’s treasurer and worked to obtain the non-profit status. “We have tried to do at least one project each year, but the work needed is beginning to pile up.”

The Players have been working to raise money for improve access — specifically for the handicapped — to the Old School House on Main Avenue where the group performs.

“The city owns the building, but we have been entrusted with its care. We are finding that more and more people who want to come to our shows are in need of easier access,” said Kelley Mullins, the group’s vice-president.

Along with providing handicap accessibility into the building, the Players also want to provide handicap accessible restrooms.

“The city has been great to work with us on a lot of projects, but the costs involved would come from us, which is the driving force behind (obtaining non-profit status),” Mullins added.

Another immediate need is the lighting system used during shows, which Mullins said barely made it through the last show.

Being an official non-profit, the Players hope it will lead to more donations.

“We’ve had people and organizations want to give, but the couldn’t because we were not a 501c3. Finally, (Bishop) took it on and got it done for us,” Mullins said.

Along with monetary donations, the group hopes the new status will allow for donations to be made for specific productions.

“Many larger companies are not even allowed to donate to an organization unless they are a 501c3. Businesses are much more likely to (donate) if they can use it as a deduction,” Bishop said.

“The Canebrake Players have been here since 1981 … most community theater groups don’t make it that long. We’ve been united in getting this done, but it took having the right people in the right position to get it done,” Mullins said.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Players, mail to PO Box 1146, Demopolis, AL 36732.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, August 8 issue of the Demopolis Times.)