Planned Gift Takes Center Stage
The footlights at Porthouse Theatre will continue to shine brightly thanks to a bequest from Charles and Joanne Compton.
In these days of video-on-demand and other forms of instant, portable entertainment, finding live theatre performances is like finding rare jewels in the sand. Porthouse Theatre is one of those jewels in Northeast Ohio’s own backyard.
Charles and Joanne Compton discovered Porthouse in the ’90s after one of Joanne’s co-workers encouraged the couple to attend a performance. “Since we both loved and enjoyed the theatre, we gave it a try,” says Joanne, “It just became a part of our lives.”
Although they lived in the Northeast Ohio area for several decades, the Comptons now reside in Rhode Island, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving back to the theatre that gave them so much pleasure over the years.
“When we moved to Rhode Island, we decided it would be a good time to create our trust planning to have it established in the state,” says Charles. “We wanted to include Porthouse in our long-term plans to ensure that it continues to bring others the enjoyment it gave us for so long.”
The Comptons began their support of Porthouse when they had trouble hearing a few of the performances, and discovered it was due to an aging sound system. “We realized they were struggling,” says Joanne, “So we started donating. We loved being at Porthouse because it was outside and the performances were so good, but we knew that they needed things.”
Terri Kent is the director of the musical theatre program at Kent State, and also serves as the artistic director of Porthouse. She is grateful for the Compton’s gift, and for their friendship.
Says Terri, “When I first met Charles, and later Joanne, I knew that they planned to make a gift to Porthouse Theatre, but I had no idea of the size or scope. We became friends, and now they are not only part of the Porthouse family, but feel like part of my family, too. I have been able to share with the Comptons all the good that has and will come from their generosity, and to continue a beautiful friendship.”
Charles Compton is a firm believer in paying it forward. “We give to Porthouse because we really enjoyed the live theatre experience, and we want more people to be able to see those things in the future,” he says. “That’s what made us happy, and if we can share those performances with other people, and make them happy, too, that’s a good thing.”