Save Fountain Hills Theater!

Lizz Reeves Fidler | Letters to the Editor | The Fountain Hills Times | June 21, 2017

I have written the following Letter to the Editor of The Fountain Hills Times regarding the new management of the Fountain Hills Theater. The Board membership, itself, has dwindled down to roughly 50% of the population that it once held because those individuals could not tolerate the callousness and lack of respect coming from the Board towards the legacy office and artistic staff. It also seems that the general atmosphere of Board meetings is now shrouded in secrecy, as many regular attendees, who do not share the new vision, are no longer welcome to attend. Make no mistake; this said vision is destroying the very foundation on which this theater was built.

Since 2005, I have been making the long trek to the Fountain Hills Theater from Chandler on a regular basis in order to volunteer with some of the best talent, both on and off the stage, in the Valley. I called it my home theater, and it has garnered more awards than I can even count or mention in its 30-year history. Now, it seems that my home is under siege by new management that does not understand how a community theater family operates. Staff members that have been with the theater since its inception have been fired, and others have been furloughed without pay; still other contractors and board members have left on their own accord because they do not agree with the new “clean sweep” management style. All of this, it appears, is in the name of money. The Youth Theater department has even started to charge for participation, as if volunteering their time is not enough. Even with all of this change, I hear that a few things have remained the same or increased, such as the salaries of the Executive Director and the Director of Finance and Accounting. My friends, have we forgotten the meaning of community theater? Of a non-profit? Of arts education and community enrichment? It is never about the money, unless you’re a professional for-profit theater. I send a plea to all actors, directors, musicians, tech workers, donors, and patrons to band together to put the community back in our community theater.

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