The closing of the Foothill Theatre was troubling because of some “small mindedness.”
The “Save the Foothill” effort just petered out. I wish the city, civic leaders and the local media (in their editorials) would have been more squarely behind keeping it open. More attention lately was put into a production called “Recession” at “Off Broad Street.”
City Council wasn’t nearly vocal enough. The Mayor should have led an effort for a resolution/campaign keep it open. I never understood that.
The “whisper campaign,” always present in a small town, was a heated debate between community theater versus Actor Equity (union) theater.
Some people in town criticized the union wage structure. This included people on the board of the Nevada Theatre Commission.
Others, typically a contingent of past and present community actors, argued that community theater was just as good as professional theatre. This included people on City Council.
Some people in FTC management and on the board were perplexed. A professional theater group is a “feather in the cap” of any small town.
Here’s the reality:
•The theater won’t be filled as much as it was before without FTC. Just do the math. The Nevada Theatre Commission will have to work hard to keep it occupied. A plan has been floated for the city to run the Theatre but that won’t happen now.
•People from out of town will be less likely to come here for community theatre, compared with a professional theater group. This means less money will “trickle down” into the community. It’s a classic example of our provincial mindset to think otherwise.
•The Executive Director of the FTC is an elected and hard-working board member of the chamber. But the city has no FTC now, which is, well, an unfortunate situation.
We often get involved in small-town debates without seeing the “big picture.” It’s usually a sign that we need more leadership in our community — from businesses, civic leaders and the local media.
Next up: The fate of Thomson Grass Valley, one of the biggest tax revenue generators in the city and is up for sale. The blow from losing this one will be much greater.