The gala opening of the New Winnipesaukee Playhouse Mainstage Theatre on our Meredith campus is happening on June 1. The completion of this wonderful new building is a major achievement. But I realized on Saturday that what we've been building for the past nine years is an even bigger achievement and one more valuable to me than our new facility. When Johanna and I left our good jobs and our good friends in the Boston area to move to central New Hampshire to an area we had only recently discovered and in which we knew nobody, we did so with the dream of finding a community of people to share our love of theatre with and to share our lives with — a theatre community if you will. We wanted to build a place where we could work together and include our children. We wanted to create a theatre organization that people would want to invest their time and passion in — onstage and off, in good times and bad.
On a Saturday of a long holiday weekend over 20 members of the Playhouse community came out to lug boxes, chairs, platforms, props, costumes, install flooring, watch our children and more for hours in the rain and cold and mud to help us get the theatre ready for June 1. They did it because they know this new theatre is their new theatre because they are part of the Winni Playhouse community. Some have been with us since the beginning and others are new to the team. Without fail, our Playhouse community is made up of selfless people who set an example for my kids to follow far better than any I could set. I am constantly amazed at how generous our supporters are with their time when we need help, and more amazingly how genuinely appreciative they are about the opportunities our little Playhouse presents to them which makes them willingly come out and spend a bleak, rainy day making our job getting ready for the opening just a little bit easier.
So while the new building IS amazing and it will be very exciting on June 1 to celebrate its opening with our friends and supporters, at the end of the day it is just a building. What's truly important to me is our wonderful and vibrant theatre community that will fill it with thrills, laughter, tears and music for years to come. Not part of it yet? What are you waiting for? Find a way to get involved — onstage, behind-the-scenes, from the audience - because believe it or not our inclusive community only gets better and better as more people get involved. And you get to be a part of some great theatre too!
A heartfelt thanks from Johanna, Lesley, Neil and I to Sue Needleman, Trevor Slauenwhite, Jim and Judi Rogato, Diane Nickerson, Diane and Chuck Fray, Tammy McGonagle, Kathleen Hill, Doreen and Matt Richards, Liz Rohdenburg, Ray and Lori Boelig, Rene Boelig, Rodney Martell, Johan Anderson, Lea and Lissa Mascio; staff members Becky Marsh, Kate Boucher and Josh Jansen who all volunteered on their day off; and family members Alan and Paula Halperin, Jonathan and Glenna Lee, Andrea Levitt and Tony Hatoun. Thank you all for spending a rainy Saturday with us.