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Theater is weathering the storm

To the editor:

Open letter to the Saranac Lake community:

Over the past several years Pendragon Theatre has committed to an exciting and expanded vision for its role in the Saranac Lake community. It is our goal to become a more professional destination theater, which adds to the artistic, educational and therapeutic quality of life for residents and visitors alike, and contributes to the economic development of Saranac Lake. The events of the past year have taken their toll on this and other communities, and Pendragon itself has not been spared. All of us at the theater have worked hard to find ways to adapt to new, hopefully temporary realities, and the lessons we have learned will be valuable as we go forward. We wouldn’t be honest if we said that it had not altered the timetable of our vision, but that vision itself remains unchanged. Pendragon Theatre recognizes that to achieve its goals it must develop an organizational structure which matches expansion of its activities, including a professional management staff and appropriately compensated artistic staff. It is our goal to develop a more diverse and expanded Board of Directors, and we hope to be able to fully engage the tremendous resources so generously offered by our community.

The initial step in this exciting new commitment is the immediate recruitment of a talented and experienced managing director who will act as the cornerstone of a new artistic and professional direction. The theater is currently, as well, developing a strategic plan that will map out the next five years, a plan that will realistically acknowledge what might be possible this year while fully embracing the potential of the future. This year we can expect to see a rapidly changing artistic environment, and we look forward to being able to offer virtual productions and, with summer weather, outdoor productions as well. It is our most fervent hope that by this fall and winter we can look forward to once again welcoming old friends and new friends into our house.

Pendragon Theatre will operate this year with a significantly reduced staff and continue to make the difficult financial decisions that reality demands. Our commitment is to work hard to build a new foundation for the theater, not just for the future at the corner of Church and Woodruff, but starting right now at Brandy Brook. The new theater downtown is a vital component of our future vision for the Saranac Lake community as a whole and the design work and fundraising for that project are very much ongoing.

We also need to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to all of the folks — Pendragon staff, board members and the community of Saranac Lake — who have helped us weather this awful storm. We look forward to seeing your faces again, whether you are sitting in lawn chairs at Riverside Park or up at Dewey Mountain, or someday soon back at the theater. It’s been hard for everybody, but we promise that we will make that happen.

Thank you all,

Christopher H. Leifheit and the Pendragon Theatre Board of Directors

Saranac Lake

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