Letter: Community deserves dedicated outdoor performing space | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Community deserves dedicated outdoor performing space

The 2021 outdoor Piknik Theatre season has recently concluded after a two-year COVID enforced hiatus. And what a welcome return it was. A joyful cast entertained our joyous audiences for 10 days with performances of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” and a premiere production of Charlie Mackey’s bestseller, “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.”

All of you who were fortunate to enjoy any of the performances, we are most grateful for your participation and your generosity. None of this would be possible without the support of our artistic partners: Russ and Shine Atha, Tony and Emily Seaver, the city of Steamboat Springs, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, Mountain Valley Bank, Routt County, the Steamboat Springs Chamber, Yampa Valley Electric Association and Team Yazbeck of Coldwell Banker.

What we learned over the past two years is that live performance fills the human need for live storytelling. We all yearn for great actors embodying great text to create a world of the imagination. Whether a classic story from hundreds of years ago reset with comic pirates, or a brand new work full of kindness and tenderness created first for this outdoor season, live theater is an essential element for a life well lived.

The other learning that was most clear is that our community deserves a dedicated outdoor performance space for acoustic, non-amplified productions. Our civic leaders have spent tens of millions of dollars on golf courses, airports, ice rinks, ski areas, trails and more trails but not a dime for an arts facility suitable for intimate outdoor performances.

Thanks to an abundance of state and federal COVID assistance, local donors and regional foundations, still not a dime of public tax dollars is required to fulfill this dream of an amphitheatre. The city of Steamboat has land, which if donated, could serve as a beautiful home for the kind of living art we created this summer as well as serve so many other community uses requiring a quiet, a beauty and a uniqueness that complements our outdoor recreational amenities. I urge our same civic leaders to act while the opportunity is ripe and support an amphitheatre that can meet these requirements.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Once again, thanks very much to all who supported this summer’s Piknik Theatre productions. You’ve helped reawaken the ecstasy for all that keeps theatre alive and well.

Stuart Handloff

Piknik Theatre executive director

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