June 2020, beyond 2020 in general, will forever be remembered, for me, as a time where education, equality, and the concept of fragility finally broke through into the world.
As a theatre company, we are charged with healing the human spirit, telling the stories that matter, letting audiences walk with people they may never have the chance to meet, and stirring the well of emotions that lie within each of us. More than that, our job, our purpose is to make sure that we as a community of human beings have the opportunity to enrich and entertain our lives with this beautiful art form called live theatre.
I cannot begin to share with you the impactful and meaningful conversations I have had during my tenure, but more importantly in these past 30 days. The pandemic has presented some challenges, but what I find I am most thankful for is that our time away from the theatre space allows us the luxury of time to work and create new opportunities for you, our patrons, our students, and the profound artistic community in which we call home. I am so very excited and hopeful for the future and I hope you are as well.
I am pleased to report the first several steps that we will be taking moving forward.
Beginning this fall, our Conservatory will be offering full scholarships to Title 1 Schools students who express an interest in the arts and strive for academic excellence. These students will attend our Conservatory camps to enrich their lives through the power of art.
A newly formed team of Casting Associates will be announced in the coming weeks. They will be working directly with me on all Hillbarn casting calls and auditions. The Bay Area is rich with talent and diverse creatives and we want to create one of the Peninsula’s best places to share their gifts.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to adapt and plan for our 80th Season including some new programming. I and the Hillbarn staff continue to work diligently to create a roadmap moving forward towards live performances but always with the primary focus of the safety of our patrons, students, artists, and staff.
Theatre is only as good as the community that supports it and believes in it, and I know, without hesitation, that the Hillbarn Community is one of the most passionate and driven communities in the Bay Area. I am so thankful for your trust, your support, and your belief in what we do and who we do it for.
I look forward to creating a new world of theatre together. We will usher in our 80th Anniversary season as well as the next 80 years with profound equality, resilience, and storytelling.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” – Lao Tzu
First and foremost, I hope that you and your loved ones are well and staying healthy and safe. Second, I want to share my profound thanks and appreciation to the many of you who continue to send in letters and emails with messages of kindness, support, and hope over these past weeks. Your belief has meant the world to us and continues to fuel the passion needed for the world that awaits us after this.
Throughout these challenging days, our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our patrons, our artists, and our staff. We continue to monitor public health and government orders to ensure that every decision we make is in the best interest of our community, and the communal fight against COVID-19.
As you know we had to cancel Laughter on the 23rd Floor and now, unfortunately, we must also cancel La Cage aux Folles, but we will be moving The Four Gifts to next season. This has been a very difficult pill to swallow. However, as much as this saddens us, it has motivated us to create new ways to share our award-winning art with you. I am hopeful that we will be sharing that great art soon through the magic of technology and innovation. Though the profound cultural loss due to the mass silencing of arts institutions is hard to fathom, I am heartened by the amount of online content being created that still allows us to escape to new worlds, understand each others’ pain and joy and encourages us to laugh and listen more intensely in order to feel free while our movement is restricted.
To the theatre artists and technicians whose lives have been upended by this crisis, here in the Bay Area and across the country, my thoughts are with you. I would also like to acknowledge the unbelievable administrative team here at Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory who continue to work tirelessly under rapidly changing circumstances.
“Art is a tether that carries humanity through history, and, when we pay attention, it leads us toward healing in all sorts of ways.”
– Kaitlin Curtice
We are a network of dreamers, storytellers, and of curious minds. As we look forward, the passion and dedication of you, our Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory family, reassures me. Your generosity and belief in what we do here will give us the security that we need to stay safe while we make plans to be together again soon. It is our job to continue to nourish the imagination of our community and those in it.
I know we will roar back onstage in celebration of our 80th Anniversary Season, stronger than ever, and with a renewed appreciation for the inspirational place live theatre and arts education holds in the heart of our community.
In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe, stay resilient.
We miss you!
Executive & Artistic Director, Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory