Artistic Director letter to our patrons
Dear friends of Be Theatre,
Many of our patrons knew something was brewing, while many are totally surprised. Either way, we are so glad you are along for this new adventure.
On a personal level, this is all kinds of scary and exciting at the same time. I like to rearrange furniture as often as the seasons change. One of my favorite things about theatre is the opportunity to begin again… 6 or 7 times a year. Change. I thrive with change!
But this time it’s different. I wasn’t prepared… and neither was our Be Theatre family. Change within our walls never comes easy. We weep with our cast mates at the close of a show. Perhaps we pout as we put away props or restock the costumes. We hug, exchange show gifts, sign the bar to remind others we’ve been there, give the director a gift, eat way too much food and talk about show mishaps or lost lines. And without fail, the next day we begin again with something new, ready to build new sets, new props, new friendships... but always within the walls of 19 West Beauregard.
But then, change.
Our landlord contacted me last year to let us know he was going to sell the building in 2018. He informed me that he was planning to retire but he was kind enough to give us plenty of notice. He made many offers and discussed options with us about how we could stay or even purchase the building, but a year was a long time, right? Plenty of time to make decisions. And besides, Theatre folk are good at change. We’ve got this. But as summer turned to fall, the call that seemed a million years away happened. The details are insignificant but the impact was certain… in just a few months we are going to leave our building. Our little theatre was beginning something new in the grandest and most dramatic way possible… a move.
So here we are, facing the biggest change of our six and a half years in existence. On February 1 we will take residence in the Black Box Theatre at the San Angelo Performing Arts Center. Along the way there were many options, places, spaces and buildings. (There were also many opinions, thoughts and advice-givers.) We found that while one building needed a plumbing overhaul, another needed electrical, and the last building was merely a shell that literally needed everything. We kept seeing dollar signs and headaches. Nothing seemed to fit.
I realized quickly that we were searching to recreate what had already been. We desperately wanted to replace our home with another quirky building that wouldn’t quite fit all our stuff… perhaps a costume closet that is too small (for no reason other than we’ve multiplied the contents with 38 shows plus dozens of workshop performances and rare garage sale finds.)
Then came opportunity. Theatre folk are good at change. We’ve got this.
San Angelo Performing Arts Center, which opened in September 2016, houses 3 beautiful performance spaces. It is a state-of-the-art fully finished space built specifically for the performing arts needs. Within the walls of the building at 82 Gillis sits a black box studio with endless possibilities. The electrical is ready, the walls are sturdy, the plumbing is plenty (and the costume closet is huge.) Walking the halls and peering into the shop, the shared space provides plenty of room for set building in a climate controlled space. Keeping in mind, we usually build our sets in a parking lot in the biting cold or stifling heat.
Opportunity. Change. Growth.
To resist change is to resist growth. To say, “But we’ve always done it this way,” is stagnate for any organization. We’ve asked all the questions associated with a move. We’ve tried to anticipate the “What about….?” and “How will we….?” questions and though we may not have all the answers, we are prepared to say, “I don’t know, so let’s find out!” As the Founding Artistic Director of Be Theatre, I can tell you two things I know for sure:
It will be different.
We are still the same.
How does that work? I am not 100% sure. With this move, I am asking for our dedicated patron’s support. We promise to bring the intimate, small theatre experience to the Black Box Theatre at SAPAC, but we need open minds and enthusiasm as we journey forward. Suzy and Keli are still in the office to answer questions and give you personal attention. Our small part time staff, including our faithful tech director, Marcus, along with an incredible base of volunteers are still full of passion that will not only remain robust, but bloom with more creative opportunities. We are still our own 501(c)3 non-profit organization, who will be in residence at the Stephen's San Angelo Performing Arts Center. But with their support, we are able to offer you a walk in box office during the week, better restroom facilities and modern technology that will provide unlimited ways to create art in an updated, beautiful space.
Please feel free to reach out to me or any of our Be Theatre staff as we settle into our new home. We’ve got this.
Artistic Director, Be Theatre
at the San Angelo PAC