4 min

Harveste Theatre Shutdown Message

Fall 2007 message

The birds can nest again. . .

For the past several weeks, I have been inundated with phone calls and email asking me about the Christmas shows, and - not having read anything in the local papers - what was the status of Harvest Theatre of Toledo.

Well folks, here's the scoop. . .

Due to a variety of reasons, both personal and theatre business related, it is with great sadness that I have stepped down as Producing Director and Board Member of the Harvest Theatre of Toledo on November 1st, a company I founded 3 years ago. I immediately handed over the day-to-day operations and decision-making to the Harvest Board of Directors.

I started Harvest Theatre as an act of love. Having been involved with theatre over the past 36 years in theatres all over the country - from long-running performances in major cities to short "summer stock" runs in the smallest towns you can imagine, it has been my great good fortune to have been a part of a profession of which I have taken far more than I've given back. There is nothing like live theatre. From first rehearsal to closing performance there is an excitement that has only be matched in my life by attending the birth of my children. And, believe me, starting Harvest Theatre was much like attending a 3 year long birth!

I said from day one that I would step away when it stopped being fun and, for me, the fun ended with our production of "Doubt". Please don't misunderstand - it nothing to do with the production - I was, and am, incredibly proud of our cast and crew for what was a watershed production in the history of Harvest Theatre. The audience response and reviews will bear witness to the fact that we had stepped up to the plate on all levels to produce a highly acclaimed show. Unfortunately, the show became secondary to the drama of mounting it. Losing our performance space with only 4 days to opening was only one of a number of events that led to my decision.

And while it may seem otherwise, I never wanted Harvest Theatre to be about one person. I always had hoped that HT would be about the art. And that is the part that I will miss - that I have missed - for the past few shows. And while it's 'hayseed' as hell (and I never thought I could get this saccharine), I can't help but quote "A Chorus Line":

Won't forget, can't regret
What I did for love.

Thank you's

To all the actors, designers, crew members, writers, musicians, and to those I may be inadvertently leaving out - thank you for sharing my vision of a theatre dedicated to new works, American classics and the best shows by some of America's greatest contemporary writers of which no one has ever heard!

To our patrons, season ticket holders, donors and supporters - thank you for believing in Harvest Theatre. You have sustained me personally and made me believe that Toledo could get behind the kind of theatre we had to offer. Season Ticket holders will note that no charges have been put through for this years season, nor checks cashed - a follow up letter will be sent by me very shortly.

To the press and media folks who were watching us and cheering us on - you have been to kind - more kind than I would have been in some cases! But your support of live theatre - not just Harvest Theatre, by the way - is well appreciated. Thank you for standing in our corner!

The Future of HT

The future of Harvest Theatre is in the hands of the Board of Directors. Their first action was to cancel the Christmas productions. To the best of my limited knowledge, they are still set on performing Sam Shepard's "True West". Beyond that, they have made no announcements or plans that have been expressed, to the best of my knowledge, publicly.

As for me, Neil Young sand it best - "Been burned, and with both feet on the ground. I've learned that it's painful coming down".

At some point, I hope to be able to Direct in the area or outside of Toledo again. Heck I might even get back on stage - though my AEA status makes that difficult around these parts. But my passion for live performance won't ever let me retire permanently. Besides I still believe I may have something to offer the arts in this area.

In the meantime, I hope that all 3 of you who read this little message continue to support live theatre. It is one of our most vital, urgent and modern art forms. And yet, it is one of the least supported in Toledo. Television and film will always be around, whether in rerun or DVD, but theatre is temporal, of the moment and ever-changing. Support live theatre! If you don't, you might be missing out on the performance or show of a lifetime!

Fondest regards and Happy Holidays to all,

Bill Quinlan

#art - #theatre

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