A NEW LIGHT ON THE HORIZON – Ten years ago, a groundbreaking vision took shape in Cedar County – children’s lights began to shine brighter than ever with the birth of the Lighthouse Children’s Theatre. “The Lighthouse,” as it is known by people in the community, became the first Eldo organization dedicated to children’s theatre and performing arts. Lynne Hedrick, founder and director, said she started the organization in August 2007 after she had a vision. She said in her mind’s eye, she saw children dancing, singing with an incredible light shining upon them – a light from a lighthouse.

Inspired with new purpose she began making plans to create a children’s theatre. A veteran teacher and educator in public schools, Hedrick was no stranger to working with and mentoring children. She approached community members and business owners, assembled the first “Circle of Light” volunteer staff and “Angels of the Lighthouse”, formed a board of directors and the Lighthouse Children’s Theatre was born. In 2008 the first Lighthouse class performed the inaugural production “Lemonade,” a fairy tale inspired musical that was held at the newly renovated, historic Opera House Theatre.

In 2009, the Lighthouse began hosting an exquisite fundraising event, the Lighthouse Gala. Karolyn Grimes, known as “Little Zuzu” from the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” was LCT’s guest of honor for their inaugural gala. The following year, Hedrick was able to secure KY3 Ned Reynolds to be the annual event’s Master of Ceremonies. In 2011, the legendary, award-winning actor John Goodman made headlines throughout SW MO when he accepted Hedrick’s invitation to headline that year’s fundraising event.

For the past 10 years, the Lighthouse Theatre has offered a place for children in the ElDo community to foster their love for the performing arts, and has been under the leadership of director Lynne Hedrick. In June the Lighthouse celebrated their 10-year anniversary, inviting back the original cast and crew members with a reprisal of the musical, “Lemonade II”.

As LCT enters the next decade, there is new light on the horizon. Hedrick will be stepping down as the organization’s director as she prepares to begin the next chapter of her life. “Founding and leading the Lighthouse has been one of the most fulfilling adventures of my life,” Hedrick shared. “I will miss our students, parents and all who have helped LCT become a community-enriching program and am excited for its continued success.”

While the board of directors has not yet announced the future of the organization’s leadership, they are in discussions with qualified candidates for the job. Hedrick will work alongside of the board as part of the transition team. She is confident that the torch will be carried forth, and the Lighthouse Theatre will continue fostering the talents of El Dorado Springs’ young, aspiring performers. “I have so many wonderful memories and will never forget the people who helped make the beautiful dream of the Lighthouse Children’s Theatre a reality.”

For more information about the Lighthouse Children’s Theatre, visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lighthousechildrenstheatre.