Whitman College donates seats to new Walla Walla theater

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A longtime fixture of one of the community's local theaters will be part of Shakespeare Walla Walla's new history-making venue when it opens next week.

Seats from the Harper Joy Theatre Alexander Stage have been donated by Whitman College to Shakespeare Walla Walla's new Power House Theatre on Sixth Avenue, according to an announcement from the college.

After more than 50 years of service, the seats were removed for Harper Joy's renovation, expected to be complete this fall. The timing of the changeover couldn't have been better, officials said. With the conversion of the former power house building into a theater modeled after playwright William Shakespeare's Blackfriars theater, seating was just one component on a long checklist of things-to-do for the project.

Still in good condition, roughly 300 seats from Harper Joy needed only minimal cleaning before they were moved to the theater earlier this month. The Blackfriars-inspired design is intended to give audience members maximum line of sight from every seat in the house, according to the announcement.

"It did my heart good to know that a part of Harper Joy that had served the community so well for so long would continue to serve," said Tom Hines, professor of theater at Whitman, in a prepared statement.

The cost of new seats for Shakespeare Walla Walla's endeavor would have set the organization back about $100,000. Used seats are valued at around $30,000. "Whitman's donation was tailor-made for the Power House," said Whitman alumnus Mark Anderson, a member of Shakespeare Walla Walla's board, in the announcement.

The transformation of the space is expected to take a decade or so. In the meantime, the show must go on. "The Merry Wives of Windsor" will run May 19-22. Tickets can be purchased online at shakespearewallawalla org , at the Destination Walla Walla window on Main Street or at Coldwell Banker First Realtors.

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Hot Mama's Espresso will host a sizzler of a fundraiser this weekend for the Washington State Council of Firefighters Burn Foundation.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Walla Walla coffee shop, 1447 W. Pine St., will feature drinks, live music from Soul Status and Jacobs Weekend, food, fire trucks and appearances from members of the Walla Walla Sweets Roller Derby team. For every drink sold throughout the day, Hot Mama's will donate $1 to the burn foundation.

A group of businesses and organizations are helping support the event. Those include the College Place Fire Department, Professional Firefighters of Walla Walla, Walt Fitness, Liberty Christian School, Walla Walla County Fire District 4 and Walla Walla Sweets Roller Girls. For more information, visit Hot Mama's Facebook page and click on "notes," or call Jenny Rasley at 386-2010.

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A downtown Walla Walla retailer that focuses on dressing women from head to toe is focusing this weekend on the parts that are in between.

Walla Walla Clothing Co. will host its semi-annual bra clinic Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. According to an announcement on the clinic, an estimated 75 percent of women wear the wrong bra shape and size. Trained staff at the store, 103 E. Main St., will discretely assist participants in helping find the right fit.

Teresa Morasch, co-owner of the store, said the clinic provides help for what is "the most important item in every woman's wardrobe." Those who have already participated can find new styles and colors. As part of the event, Walla Walla Clothing will also feature 10 percent discounts on Michael Stars and Three Dot Tees.

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Area postal workers making the rounds this Saturday won't just be dropping off mail. They also hope to be picking up food.

The annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive takes place this weekend. Local residents are encouraged to bag up some nonperishable food items and leave them out for the postal workers collecting donations. The push by the postal employees is one of two major food drives that serve as the greatest contributions to the Blue Mountain Action Council Food Bank, which distributes the food to local pantries.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

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