Kiss Me Kate is one of my favorite shows, and one of the most iconic musical theatre songs of all time. It has been rolling around in my head all week, as a haunting-foggy-strobe-lit piece.
It’s because I don’t know where our first show will be next season (or our second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth for that matter), I find myself vacillating between buoyant hope and paralysis – and a million emotions in between. My husband (our tech director at ACT 1) is a rock: stoic, he forges ahead and never says die. He finally articulated yesterday morning that not knowing is making him “antsy.”
We spent a lot of time and energy pursuing what seemed like a magical solution for our space needs and our programs. It would have had performance space, storage space, construction space, classroom space, and a beautiful space for the orchestra, and our office needs would have also been met. We would have had the space to expand every single program we have. This was clearly not meant to be, as we retracted our offer two weeks ago. It was the right thing to do. After working in our intimate black box (converted garage) for five years and the office and green room/costume storage in the office upstairs, space has become a critical issue.
We have something in rehearsal or performance every day of the week, which is good. We just need more space. Affordable space. And we need to move. The thought of trying to pack up everything here and relocate it is defeating in its enormity.
We have been granted rehearsal and classroom space from Sumner United Methodist for next season. We could not be more grateful! It’s within walking distance for youth, and doesn’t have actors from the north and south ends commuting farther.
We are setting up our office, costume, and props storage in a space we own in Auburn. Not ideal, but workable. I am getting a great amount of satisfaction as I unpack costume bags and boxes and relocate them, discovering the OTHER shoe, glove, or that hat that I KNEW we had! It will make our work much easier to be able to find things!
We are still searching for storage, construction space, and performance space. Chasing down leads on all of that. Days go by and there is no communication from any of our leads (which I am sure means they are very busy), but our time line is rapidly racing by!
I heard an interview on NPR recently about a book called Tribe, primarily about how soldiers can’t reintegrate to civilian life after being deployed without a lot of help due to the incredible closeness/intensity with their fellow soldiers. They also talked about people they interviewed who were almost ashamed to say that when their countries were occupied during war times, the community was at its best. People banded together, shared resources, supported each others’ families, and worked to meet the needs of their neighbors. When the war ended, so did that amazing community.
In a small way, I feel that in this current leg of our journey at ACT 1. Not only are people pledging to donate monthly to support our work in the community, but people are contacting us to volunteer! It’s wonderful. My board, our volunteers, our family (especially my husband) are being nothing but patient, positive, and forward-thinking. We ARE bringing out the best in each other and I know that will stand us in good measure for the future! I don’t delude myself that this will be our last rough patch.
Like David and Goliath or the Little Engine that Could, I believe we will persevere: the right spaces will be there and we will create amazing art opportunities for actors, directors, musicians, and teachers for years to come.
I am blessed to be pursuing the only thing I wanted to do since I was 8 years old, and happy beyond measure to be inspired, motivated, and supported by the hundreds of artists we work with each year, whether in the classroom, chamber group, on stage, back stage, or on the streets!
“. . . the arts have been an inseparable part of the human journey; indeed, we depend on the arts to carry us toward the fullness of our humanity. We value them for themselves, and because we do, we believe knowing and practicing them is fundamental to the healthy development of our children’s minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization – ours included – the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term ‘education.’ We know from long experience that no one can claim to be truly educated who lacks basic knowledge and skills in the arts.”
–National Standards for Arts Education