More @ Bay Street

Art...No Matter What

By Tracy Mitchell, Executive Director, Bay Street Theatre

The 2013 summer MAINSTAGE season at Bay Street Theatre has kicked off with a glorious BANG.  “TENOR IS A TRIUMPH” reads the headline of the first review of Lend Me a Tenor. And while I’d love for you all to purchase tickets (do come see it—it’s hysterical!), this blog is not about the sales pitch.

What it is about is the fact that there are times when things hit me, which I’d like to share. Some of them have come from you, our audience, as part of my listening tour. (more about that another time.)

But what sparked this initial post was the oddest source of inspiration, though I have learned that inspiration can come from anywhere, at any time.

Heading home from the city from a patrons night out to see The Big Knife, (with Board member and Drama Desk Award winner Richard Kind), I noticed a billboard touting the phrase – Care… No Matter What. And it just sort of hit me how powerful the end of that phrase is-- no matter what.

To be and to feel so strongly about something that nothing will stand in your way. And it dawned on me, that this is how most artists—be they painters, musicians, sculptors or actors—feel about what they do. They simply must create—no matter what. Crazy you might say? Perhaps.  But it really isn’t a choice—it’s in the DNA.  True artists simply must create. No matter what.

Bay Street Theatre and all of the folks who have ever passed through its doors, have shown what it means to create great theater—no matter what. We struggle to pay the rents. The actors uproot from families. The production teams spend endless hours both day and night (and college interns even longer!) making sure the actors have what they need. And most all of us do it for such little money that it would shock even the most ardent theatre aficionado.  Crazy you say?  Again, perhaps. But it’s not a choice. We simply must create, no matter what.

And you, our audience? You create too. How? You’re the other half of the dialogue that we begin. Without you, there is no theatre. Without you, the art exists in a void--kind of like the tree falling in the empty forest.

And while we struggle to find the financial support needed, we remain buoyed by the fact that we are committed to keeping this artistic home alive for everyone to be a part of—from the youngest elementary school child who experiences theater for the very first time, to the seasoned Broadway veteran who enjoys a month of working in the Hamptons, to the year around community who enjoy services we provide beyond the theatrical experience.  (Think Santa pulling up to our doors each winter for an afternoon of gift requests from kids and photo ops from their parents.)
 And so it is in this spirit, Bay Street Theatre has kicked off its 2013 summer Mainstage season with joy, with sweated brow, and a lot of hard work. We simply must create a Bay Street that is sustainable for the sake of the arts and for the benefit of our village and all who make use of our facility. We must make this work…no matter what.

Call me if you wish to help.

Posted: June 6, 2013