Spotlight Theater Acts With New Community Partnerships In Rock Island


Moline Spotlight Theater acts in a positive and productive way, with new partnerships with Augustana College and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center on Rock Island.

The Three-Year Nonprofit Theater, 1800 7e Ave., has an agreement with the private college to offer students college credit or paid internships to work on or off stage.

Spotlight co-owner Brent Tubbs said it started with Augie’s now senior Noah Hill, who starred last June in the title role of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” He offered to help the Spotlights with their summer camps.

Augustana student Noah Hill, with Bethany Sanders, in Spotlight’s “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in June 2021.

“We said, of course, what can you do? And he said ‘Everything,’ which is true, “Brent recalled Monday.” He was sort of the total MVP of all summer. I mean, he did the sets, he did the lights, lots of props, so on her part, i think we started to generate a little more interest from the other students in augie about how to help.

The theater had plenty of Augie’s students in the orchestra pit for “Little Shop of Horrors” this fall, music conducted by Augie graduate Katie Griswold.

Griswold is now Deputy Music Director of “The Sound of Music” (coming December 3-5 and December 10-12), which is led by Spotlight co-owner Sara Tubbs, with students Augie Jon Jaworowski in as musical director and Michael Tarchala as choreographer.

“The students we’ve had have all been amazing – super passionate, super focused and super responsible,” Sara said on Monday. “We’re like, they’re doing something right over there.”

She thought back to her college days (Cal State-Fullerton), when she could get college credit for her involvement in theater, so Sara and Brent reached out to drama teacher Augie Jennifer Popple to arrange something similar here. .

Students can earn credits, depending on their Spotlight responsibilities, Brent said.

“Some people who say they manage the light board may only get one or two credits, but if someone conducts or conducts music, they can get four credits,” he said, noting that Noah Hill was running the February 2022 show (“The Lightning Thief”), which will be his main senior investigative project.

Spotlight Theater owners (and spouses) Brent and Sara Tubbs.

Spotlight will put all of their ads on a college website, for student opportunities.

Augie has an internship program, where students can decide whether they can be paid by college or get college credit, Brent said.

After school collaboration at King Center

Sara said doing more outreach with local students has been a goal since Spotlight started, as well as their Kids Theater Programs (which offer classes and performances for K-12 children).

“I knew we really wanted to get involved in the community and really reach out to these kids who want to do theater,” she said. “There isn’t a lot of drama taught in schools until the kids are really in college. “

“We have to bring the theater into their life before that,” said Sara. They contacted LaToya Trice, the Youth Services Manager at the MLK Center, who wanted to involve Spotlight in their after-school programs.

Spotlight is in partnership with the Martin Luther King Center, 630 9th St., Rock Island.

Brent and Sara will teach two different groups (levels K-4 and 5-9) once a week, starting in January, for eight weeks, ending with a performance at the Spotlight (early March). They will include improvisation exercises, games, short plays, song and dance.

“We would love to bring some of Augie’s students with us,” she said. “We would love to involve anyone in the teaching, to bring them there too. “

“We are going to get to know the children, see where their interests lie,” said Sara. “We will be showing them to many different types of theater and see what will best suit their showcase.”

The groups will be around 30 students each, and there is no additional cost for these families, being part of the existing MLK Center program. And if any of their children want to be in Spotlight children’s classes at the theater, the King Center will cover those costs, Sara said.

“We’re really, really excited to finally make this dream come true,” she said. “We had a lot of different ideas. Right before the pandemic hit, we were about to have a big fundraising night for the program to try and raise scholarships. “

“This is just the start and we know we really want to get more involved in the community and do theater in children’s lives,” said Sara. “This is just the start for this.”

One of Augie’s big goals is to get more QC students to stay in the area and attend college, and the Spotlight partnership could attract more local students to stay.

“It’s definitely something we’re going to talk about with our students – you know Augustana is a great choice. And if you go to school there, you can still do stuff here and get credit for it. And it’s going to be a really great relationship – we’re excited to see how that unfolds. “

“We would love to be able to hire full time employees,” said Sara. “It’s also the ultimate dream here, to provide a place where people can do what they love and make a living doing it. “

For more information on Spotlight programs, visit

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