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The Thespian Manifesto

Notes from Land's End: Dec. 20


December 19th, 2011

Prior to the conception and realization of The Provincetown Theater on Bradford Street, circa 2001-2005, productions took place in little pockets around town, with a semi-permanent presence at the Provincetown Inn. Who could ever forget the nude scene from “Hair” performed in the middle of a room used for weddings? Not I. This same nomadic spirit continues today with the Tennessee Williams Festival, when churches, hotels and bar rooms become the stage for masterworks like “Orpheus Descending”.

Current difficulties at our town’s theater are both financial and stylistic, but the building is open and it’s in the black, says treasurer and volunteer Joy McNulty, to be commended for her strong leadership on this board.

The presence of a permanent theater building has solved one problem: there’s a gorgeous space to work out of, and created another: how to pay for and manage it, a source of great angst in recent years.

With great anticipation, I attended a public meeting called by Quinn Cox, author, astrologer, performer and creator of the AfterGlow Festival on Friday, December 16th, at the Harbor Hotel. His purpose was to mobilize Provincetown’s creative people in response to a series of incidents that sparked [reporter] Sue Harrison’s piece in The Banner (November 9th, 2011) about the need for change within The Provincetown Theater.

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In attendance were Susan Grilli of Counter Productions, director David Drake, former PTF Board Member Brian O’Malley, musician Zoe Lewis, photographer Bobby Miller, artist Liz Carney, reporter Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll and a recovering vet from Iraq who was healed by the powers of acting on the stage.

Cox’s main points, in my opinion, were this:

1. Provincetown has the power to remain an extraordinary theater destination by its very birthright.
2. The theater was built for the community and should be user-friendly to all.
3. That Provincetown needs one building as the epicenter of theatrical endeavors.

Everyone agreed, with an interest in the possible formation of a theater guild.

The conversation got lively when Brian O’Malley addressed the current state of the Provincetown Theater. No longer a board member, he emphasized that the high cost of running the building contributed to the lack of support available for renters. Quinn countered that this could be resolved with a clear vision and effective fund raising.

The evening ended on a high note to continue this conversation in future forums.

Current difficulties at our town’s theater are both financial and stylistic, but the building is open and it’s in the black, says treasurer and volunteer Joy McNulty, to be commended for her strong leadership on this board. Who will step up to join the Provincetown Theater’s board? Are there people already living on Land’s End who are qualified to raise funds and create a clear artistic vision?

Quinn Cox is to be lauded for creating this discourse, with optimism and alacrity, about the future of the birthplace of modern theater. Want to be a part of the discussion? Go to the Provincetown Theater Community Forum on Facebook.

This columnist was photographically challenged that evening so there are only a couple of decent pictures. Mea Culpa.

“Notes from Lands End”, by artistic bon vivant Laura Shabott, is a weekly account of the people, places and events that make our town so special.

Provincetown.com is the longest-standing, independently-owned presence on the web in 02657.








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