LUZERNE COUNTY– For 5 years now, Kiss Theatre Company has been at the Wyoming Valley Mall in Luzerne County.
More than 500 kids of all ages and abilities are part of the non-profit theatre company.
This week, Kiss got the news from mall officials: the company has to leave its space to make room for a restaurant.
“To actually see it in black and white was devastating, absolutely devastating knowing that this place that so many kids call home is in jeopardy,” said Christa Manning, producing artistic director at Kiss.
Kiss has put on more than 70 shows in its time.
Theatre officials said they have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to the Wyoming Valley Mall.
“I didn’t really believe it at first because it sounds so ridiculous. Why would they put a restaurant in instead of a theatre that helps so many kids?” said Stephanie Sullon, a theatre worker.
“With the kids learning a few days ago, it’s been rough, it’s been rough for them and it means so much to the kids,” said Mason Riepert of the theatre.
“I really like this whole place, it’s not just a plain building, it’s just like a whole thing that I can do, like activities. It’s one of my best activities in the world,” said seven-year-old Tate Elliott, of Bear Creek Township.
The folks at Kiss have to be out of the space at the mall by June 5th and while they do not know where they are going yet, they do know one thing: they will stay together.
“The show must go on,” said Manning.