Our community theater is one of the oldest in the Pacific Northwest – for almost sixty years it has offered full seasons of dramatic, comedic and musical offerings. We are completely volunteer run and exists off ticket sales alone (in $13 increments and without any significant sponsors, grants or tourism dollars). We have prided ourselves on honoring the adage “The show must go on” and have performed through hospitalizations, blizzards, earthquakes, breakups that shook the whole troupe and even through a faked heart attack (there’s one way to handle forgetting your lines??). All these adversities have served only to add to our collective narrative as a community, indeed, as a family. But this week- just one week in to a five-week run of an amazing musical filled with incredibly talented performers who have balanced work or school with family obligations and 16-20 hours a week of rehearsal for eight weeks looking for no compensation but applause and two days before auditions by an up and coming new director and one week before rehearsals were set to begin on the next chapter of a locally beloved children’s theater series – we have been forced to cancel not just a performance (which I can only remember doing once in my 20 years of involvement with the playhouse) but the rest of our season. Obviously having royalties out on two shows and expenses out on one, plus rent through an extended dark period will be a financial blow to our tiny theater whose hard won nest egg would look like nothing to larger organizations. But even more so it’s a blow to the mental health of our members and to the sense of family we have created though our shared space and love of the arts. Many of us depend on that sense of connection and the safe space that theatre provides as our families never offered it. Many of us work jobs without joy or meaning, knowing we will find it within the confines of the playhouse. And many in the community rely on us to help them connect to a larger world outside our rural existence. During this shutdown I worry, not for our bank account but for our humanity.

Submitted anonymously