Meet the Ioka’s Youngest Fundraising Team

The mysterious hand-drawn flyers that were stuffed in the neighborhood mailboxes read “Yard Sale – Save the Ioka!” Exeter Theater Company Board Chair Tony Callendrello found one in his mailbox – but no one on the team had heard anything. The day of the membership drive deadline, several on-line forms were filled out for memberships – though the amounts were blank, the memo fields all read sentiments such as, “We love the Ioka!”

A few weeks later, the yard sale on Front Street began. Seven 6th graders from the Cooperative Middle School launched the idea as a way to raise funds for the theater that they had barely been able to use when it closed in December 2008 – most of them were seven or eight at that time. The team: Haley Sutton, Hannah Hudson, Devyn Coviello, Anna Dishart, Lily Ripa, Lily Albert, and Bridget Babcock. Over two days, the girls worked the yard sale wearing hand-made white t-shirts with “Ioka” on them. Together they raised $661.67, all to support the reopening of the Ioka Theater. The fundraising team will be touring the Ioka after school in the near future, and will be recorded on the Ioka Theater’s donor wall or on one of the new seats – whichever the girl’s prefer.

The non-profit Exeter Theater Company was established in 2009 as a 501-c-3 non-profit “to preserve and operate the historic Ioka Theater as a vital center for arts and culture.” The volunteers of the Exeter Theater Company are currently completing the business plans, cost estimations, and new designs for the renovation of the theater. To learn more, support this historic endeavor, become a volunteer, receive the e-news and join as a member sign up at or contact  Contributions and memberships can also be sent to Exeter Theater Company, PO Box 275, Exeter, NH 03833.


From left to right in photo:

Haley Sutton, Hannah Hudson, Devyn Coviello, Anna Dishart, Lily Ripa, Lily Albert, Bridget Babcock (Behind the wheel: 7th grader Justine Walsh)