With the new year and a blank calendar, the possibilities seem endless and hopeful. This is one of my favorite times each year- except for the bitter cold! It is a time of renewal and a time of hope. According to a recent article I read by Andy Serwer, the editor of Fortune magazine, the last decade was, well, hellish. As we move into the new year and the new decade, we have high hopes that things can and will get better. We all dream of better times and at this time of year some of those dreams always feel closer to realization. Dreams, ideas, and plans -whether they resolutions for the new year or not- require us to change and change requires effort. Sam Nash, the current Parkway Playhouse Board President, likes to remind us all that “if it is to be, it is because of you and me”. What Sam is talking about is that realizing the changes for the better we want to make in ourselves, our families, our communities are brought about by concerted effort. You cannot wish change to happen and stop there.
Speaking of changes. When you come to the theatre this summer, you will be able to see physical change. Maintaining our historic theatre is one of the most important challenges we have as an organization. When I arrived I like to tell people the major issues were “heat, seats, and sound”. We installed some air conditioning in 2005; in 2007 we installed new seats, and over the course of the last 6 years we have added some things to reinforce and amplify sound in the theatre. The sound issue we have whittled away at for the last few years, but sound equipment is expensive and it is also very difficult to get grants to cover these expenses. Anyway, the theatre building is in increasing need of repairs, upgrades, and renovation. This Spring, we are going to re-roof the building. This will hopefully cut down on the leaks throughout the building and the associated water damage that comes with it There are currently places in the building where leaks from the roof have rotted out floors backstage. A few years ago we had a commode in one of the public restrooms fell through a floor that was rotten from moisture. In 2010, The Cannon Foundation and the Phillips Foundation have generously agreed to cover the costs of re-roofing the entire theatre with architectural shingles, which will give the new roof a 30-40 year lifespan. It is a fabulous gift.
There still is more to do. The theatre, once considered and promoted as a state of the art facility has antiquated plumbing profoundly inadequate amenities. We need to continue to chip away at the long list of upgrades and repairs that are needed. Eventually the theatre is going to have to raise the money to complete the repairs needed and this will cost approximately a million dollars to do. It is a big dream in these times perhaps. Some have told us it is impossible but we have no alternative if the theatre is to continue.
I hope you will save room on your blank 2010 calendars for coming to the Parkway Playhouse, look for us to announce our season in just a little bit. I think we are going to have a great year!