Gesa pens $1 million naming rights agreement for Walla Walla theater


Christina Lethlean, Gesa Credit Union president and CEO, presents a check to the partners of the Gesa Power House Theatre as part of an 11-year naming rights agreement with the Walla Walla theater. From left: Mark Anderson and Dennis Ledford, Power House Theatre partners; Lethlean of Gesa; Harry Hosey, Power House Theatre managing partner; and Jim Sheehy, Gesa’s CFO.

Gesa Credit Union has entered into an 11-year, $1 million naming rights agreement with the Power House Theatre in Walla Walla.

The theater will now be called the Gesa Power House Theatre.

The agreement gave Gesa the exclusive naming rights to the theater, including Gesa Power House Theatre signage.

The funding will provide for an extensive remodel, including a new roof for the 120-year-old building that once was the Walla Walla Gas Plant.

In 2011, the building was transformed into a state-of-the-art performing arts theater with 368 seats. The interior design, which features a thrust stage and balcony seating, was inspired by Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre in London, England.

The Power House Theatre, which is home to the performing arts company Shakespeare Walla Walla, is a state historic building and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Of Gesa’s total $1 million commitment, $250,000 will be used for fundraising events to benefit the theater or for specific capital campaigns designed to enhance the theater’s facilities as an incentive for future donors, including using it for matching donations.

“Gesa Credit Union is excited to partner with the Power House Theatre to strengthen and grow professional theatre performances for audiences in Southeastern Washington,” said Christina Lethlean, Gesa’s president and CEO. “Supporting a vibrant performing arts organization, such as the Power House Theatre, aligns with our credit union’s core values.”

Since the Power House Theatre’s debut in 2011, management has brought a number of high quality, professionally-produced shows to the stage, drawing patrons from around the state and bolstering tourism in the Walla Walla Valley.

With each season, the theatre has expanded its audience and with the support of Gesa, the theater will continue to attract high-quality talent and cultural events to Eastern Washington.

“The additional funds to be raised through the donation matching will assist the Gesa Power House Theatre in addition a new elevator to the north side of the building, restoring the original woodwork around the windows, adding HVAC equipment, and adding technical infrastructure above the stage, while also providing for future operational growth,” said Harry Hosey, the Power House Theatre’s managing director.

The deal comes about two months after Gesa announced a 12-year, $1 million presenting partnership agreement to install a vintage 1910 carousel in the Southridge area of Kennewick.

Mary Coffman by Mary Coffman
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

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