SARANAC LAKE - Village officials paid tribute Monday to the soon-to-be-departing founders of the Pendragon Theatre.
Bob Pettee and Susan Neal announced in May that they had begun a year-long transition to a new leadership for the year-round professional theater, handing over the reins to Karen Kirkham and David Zwierankin.
Reading from a framed proclamation, village Mayor Clyde Rabideau commended Pettee and Neal for helping make Saranac Lake a "premier entertainment and cultural" center.
Pendragon Theatre founders Bob Pettee, left, and Susan Neal were honored at Tuesday night’s Saranac Lake village board meeting by Mayor Clyde Rabideau, right.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Pendragon was organized in 1980 and began in a school auditorium before moving to its present location, a renovated ice cream warehouse on Brandy Brook Avenue. Rabideau noted that it has drawn thousands of patrons over the years, "enhancing our image and solidifying our identity as the capital of the Adirondacks.
"The village of Saranac Lake Board of Trustees does hereby recognize and commend Bob Pettee and Susan Neal for their tremendous Pendragon theater accomplishments," Rabideau said, "and urges the citizenry to join with me in commending this achievement and wishing them continued good stead, good health and happiness as they pursue their next endeavor."
Pettee and Neal received a standing ovation from the board and the audience. They both thanked the community for its support over the years.
"I think part of the reason we came here 32 years ago was that the village exudes a certain degree of magic, and has for a long period of time," Pettee said. "And I think that we're just an outgrowth of that kind of magic and the community has helped us grow. We hope it will continue for years and years to come. It was something that was the crazy idea of two individuals, but hundreds, maybe thousands of people have made it happen and persevere this long."
"We could not have survived without the incredible support of these communities," Neal said. "We're very grateful."
Although the transition to a new leadership at Pendragon is under way, Pettee and Neal won't actually leave the area until next spring, when Pettee said they'll move to Portland, Maine to act and to pursue teaching opportunities.