New leadership at Thunder River |

New leadership at Thunder River

Will Grandbois

As the Thunder River Theatre Company prepares for its biggest fundraiser of the year, a transition is underway behind the scenes.

Complete with a professional auctioneer, DJ and dancing, dinner and dessert by Ming’s, The Yin Yang Gala takes place from 5-9:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Orchard in Carbondale. Asian flair attire is suggested. Tickets are $90 apiece and must be purchased by Aug. 6.

“It’s such an important event for us. It sets us up for the next season,” said new Executive Artistic Director Corey Simpson. “The ticket sales are important, but we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without extra support.”

Simpson officially took over the nonprofit’s top on Aug. 1 after longtime director Lon Winston decided to step down. A trained and experienced actor, Simpson has appeared in numerous local productions and directed for Thunder River Theatre in the spring. He will also direct the season opener, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” in September. Other 2016-17 productions are DiPietro’s “The Last Romance,” Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” — directed by Winston — and Stephenson’s “The Memory of Water.”

Season tickets are on sale now at the four-for-three price of $90 for adults, $60 for 20- and 30-somethings and $45 for students. For tickets, information or to donate, visit

In addition to ticket sales and financial contributions, Thunder River relies on numerous other forms of community support. Locals have donated all manner of theatrical supplies, and right now the company is on the hunt for a grand piano.

Volunteers are also an essential part of the team, with help needed at the box office, concessions and more. To volunteer, email

Assuming all of those pieces continue to fall into place, Simpson sees a bright future ahead.

“I am humbled by what Lon has created, by all the work the board has done, and how much the community of artists have done for this theater,” he said. “This is really not about me, it’s about trying to build something even greater for Carbondale.”

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