To the editor:
A week ago, we joined with over one hundred others at a gala event to celebrate the Gloucester Stage Company’s 40th anniversary. Yes, for 40 years Gloucester Stage has provided professional performing art in our city. This was a rather extraordinary anniversary as most regional theaters never make it past six years.
Over those four decades, the theater has staged more than 300 plays. Many of these plays were world premieres, many old favorites and many were plays relating to Gloucester. “Gloucester Blue,” “My Station in Life” and now the current production, “Ben Butler,” come to mind. Many of these plays have been the recipients of prestigious awards.
We in Gloucester are most fortunate to have this cultural flagship here in our city!
The Gloucester Stage Company is an unsung economic asset for our community. It has attracted visitors who in turn eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels and buy in our shops.
But beyond the obvious economic impact, the theater has created many jobs. During the past four decades, more than 1,000 actors and 3,000 back stage and support staff have worked there. The payroll includes not only actors, musicians and directors but also those who design and build the sets, provide the props, customize the design and production of the lights and sound, design and provide the costumes and makeup. This includes carpenters, electricians and stage hands and many more that are less obvious – people such as dialect and fight coaches. Add to this impressive list of positions are the administrative jobs such as managing director, artistic director, box office manager, development director, publicity director, house manager and others. These workers are either Gloucester citizens or come to Gloucester to work and contribute to our local economy while here.
Right now more than 160 people will be employed by the Stage Company this year.
The Gloucester Stage not only provides an economic infusion into our economy, but has become part of the fabric of Gloucester. Over the years, the theater has been involved in a very successful youth acting workshop that creates an environment for our youth to learn and perform. Additionally, it is the home to an intensive apprenticeship program for recent college graduates to further enhance their skills. As a good neighbor, the theater offers the community special nights of reduced ticketing pricing, many free programs in the Never Dark series and frequently collaborates with other groups in the city.
Live theater is a wonderful creative adventure! Our city is fortunate to have this incredible foundation of culture, performing arts hub and consistent economic engine in Gloucester.
I hope you will join us in offering both congratulations and ongoing support to the Gloucester Stage Company.
Judith and Harry Hoglander
Members, Gloucester Stage Company Board of Directors