Letters | Dorton & Cope: Boycotting Breckenridge Backstage Theatre is the wrong approach
September 7, 2018
Boycotting Backstage is the wrong approach
In a recent letter to the editor, a local couple recommended boycotting the Backstage Theatre to express outrage over the board's lack of support for Erin Gigliello and Chris Willard. As volunteers and season supporters, we hold that this response is inappropriate and tantamount to a death sentence for the theatre.
At this point, the board probably has come to realize that their lack of support for the theater's right to artistic expression was ill advised and the cost has been dear. It is most unfortunate that every issue these days is seen through the lens of politics. It matters not what the subject may be only that someone is offended.
Reflect on all the good that has resulted from Backstage's efforts over 31 years. The young lives it has touched through its children's productions. The opportunities it has provided to them to grow and weigh their talents against a future in the arts. Think of the thought provoking, even if we didn't always agree with the subject, questions it has brought to us to ponder and examine. The preponderance of value comes down on the side of giving Backstage time to figure out what the next phase of its evolution will be.
This board faces the hardest decisions it will ever make. How they choose to proceed and whom they choose to replace Erin & Chris will undoubtedly determine if Backstage continues or closes shop. Let's hope they have the courage to make the correct choices so this community treasure can endure and prosper.
Chris and Shari Dorton
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An open letter to the Backstage board of directors
The theater "will have seen the departure of three executive directors and now its longtime artistic director in roughly one year's time." It really does not take a rocket scientist to read between the lines. The loss of one, maybe two, but four? Really? It is time that the board members take a long look in the mirror and ask, "why have we run off these people, including a person that is one of the most creative directors this community has seen?"
Maybe the problem is not the people that have left the theater. You may be great at running your businesses but you do not have any idea how to run a theater. The board needs people who are familiar with what all is involved in putting on a production such as "Billy Elliot" or "Lion King Jr." Have you any idea the countless hours put into search of script and getting the permission to use them? Then putting it all together: the scenes, the props, the costumes and bringing in all the staff needed to work back stage? Not to mention advertising the play. Then it is time for auditions and the selection of actors, actresses, dancers, etc. — many times auditioning a hundred or more people. Some of these folks come from as far away as Chicago. Do you have any idea the time spent by all in rehearsal? Some doing this not for compensation, but for the pure love of the art. I wonder what the overall impact will be of your infighting and lack of decision making. It will be very hard to replace some of these people. So, board, you may be left with dwindling donorship and a vacant building on Ridge Street. You have not just lost four good people, you may very well have lost that part of the community that has loved the Backstage Theatre for years.
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