Theater 22 has shut down.
I found Corey McDaniel’s letter announcing the demise of one of my favorite theaters in town, when I got back from an overseas memorial service. Although I have reviewed over 500 shows for Drama in the Hood, it says a lot that several years later I vividly remember Theater 22’s, especially The Lisbon Traviata and Alice in Wonderland, in Volunteer Park. During the former I laughed and cried; the latter was so refreshingly creative that I insisted my mathematician husband come to see how another mathematician’s work had been adapted.
But in Corey’s own words:
The Future of T22
I hope this finds you well, happy, and having a great summer. I would like to connect, open my heart to you, and share an update from Theatre22.
The pandemic has changed everything in every direction and the arts have been incredibly hard hit; now, we find ourselves at T22 without a sustainable venue option for our productions unless we pivot to being a volunteer company, which is antithesis to how we want artists to be treated when they work with us. Theatre22 set out to be a professional company that could, among many other things, sustain the work of our artists. Paying people a fair rate for their time and talent is non-negotiable for Theatre22. Therefore, we have decided that we would like to go out strong and on a high note at our ten-year mark.
Nonsense and Beauty will be our final production.
We knew early on we wanted to tell a particular kind of story, ones that could be the catalysts for healing. Our hope has always been that people walk away from our shows having had the ability to put a period at the end of some kind of personal, emotional sentence.
We would choose shows through the lens of hope because we knew that together, this was the gift we could give our community. We know without a doubt that we have saved lives and made others better. And that is what art is about. That is what we are about.
Another core philosophy of Theatre22 has been hospitality. We prided ourselves on having myself or Alber at every performance. Alber’s Brazilian heritage set the foundation for our “come one come all, no invitation needed” policy. If you wanted to see a show, we made it happen for you because we thought everyone who wanted to come didn’t just get to come, they needed to be there. My Texan upbringing taught us that a handshake is both a welcome and a contract. We are so glad you’re here and we promise to do right by you. Which is why I shook the hand of every possible person I met in the lobby at the beginning and end of almost every performance.
We felt that all of our artists and audience members, and truly we mean all, were like our close friends sitting in our living room, helping themselves to the drinks in the fridge. We cherished every single one of you. We noticed when you had that big laugh or that quiet sob, because we truly gave you a piece of our hearts with each performance.
We are so grateful to have spent this time with you over the last ten years. Thank you so very much! We learned about how fragile our society is, but also how vital our community is. We learned that people want to give and want to be in communion with each other. We learned that everyone, when their humanity is acknowledged and they are given true support with authentic care, they thrive and can become better or even best versions of themselves. Thank you for being a part of our family.
After months of processing, consulting, talking, reflecting, grieving, and yes, hoping, Alber and I are excited to embark on the next chapter in our lives. We loved everything about running a theatre company and yet we’re looking forward to exploring a simpler life starting in 2023.
After our final production of Nonsense and Beauty, Alber and I are going to rest. Will you stay in touch? Send us a note about the great theatre you’ve seen or the moments of healing and redemption you’ve witnessed? We hope you will. And we hope to shake your hand one more time during the run of the final production in Theatre22 history.
Thanks for coming by, friends. Help yourselves to the fridge.
Corey McDaniel & Alber Sucupira