Amherst Mayor Robert Small is urging Showcase Productions and the ARHS theatre foundation to go back to the table to find a compromise that would allow the theatre group to continue using the Susan Taylor Theatre at the high school.
AMHERST – Amherst’s mayor doesn’t want Showcase Productions to leave the community.
In light of the theatre company’s announcement last week that it’s leaving the Susan Taylor Theatre because of new regulations on its use, Robert Small said he has been asked by council to write a letter to both Showcase Productions and the theatre’s operators to see if a common ground can be found.
“I don’t believe we have any authority on how the theatre at the high school is operated, but saying that I have been requested by council to send a letter to both the foundation and Showcase Productions asking if there is anything we can do to resolve the issue,” Robert Small said. “I want to make it clear that the Town of Amherst supports theatre in the community and we’re willing to do anything we can to help.”
When the new high school opened in 1999 the town and the county put $200,000 toward the construction of the theatre.
Showcase board member Michelle Hicks said the theatre company’s next production, Happy Days: The Musical, will not be at the high school after she said the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board put in place new rules that make it next to impossible to stay there.
Hicks said the company has given about $14,000 back to the community through its support of scholarships, awards and bursaries at ARHS as well with its support of spring musicals at Spring Street Academy and Cumberland North, helping Don Miller’s youth group and bringing Neptune Theatre to area schools.
The mayor said the town appreciates what Showcase Productions has done for the community and hopes to find a way it can stay and continue to use the high school. However, he admitted, at the end of the day there may not be a solution that can be found.
“Amherst has benefitted from having lots of theatre groups. Some aren’t as large as Showcase Productions, but there are comedy troupes and special events and fundraisers. We will always have the theatre in Amherst,” the mayor said. “I would hate to see Showcase Productions leave, but I also understand what could happen if this can’t be resolved.”