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Shea president lays out theater’s situation

TURNERS FALLS — Shea Community Theater Inc. president Michael Glazier Wednesday night reiterated his call for anyone interested in the direction of the Shea Theater to get involved in the direction of the Shea Theater.

The lately embattled board held an open house in the Avenue A theater lobby in response to concerns raised by some at a recent Board of Selectmen’s meeting, following a strong show of support at an earlier meeting after it was discovered the nonprofit’s lease for the town-owned building has expired and the town is likely legally required to put the lease out to bid.

The open house saw about 20 people at its height — not counting the small children of board members. Glazier and other board members said that time with their families is among the things volunteers can expect to sacrifice working with the board.

The board was down to seven of 15 members this week, with a member resigning Tuesday. “As you can guess, it’s been a little tough here,” Glazier said.

Glazier said the board’s primary responsibility as a nonprofit organization is fiduciary; they can’t spend money on expensive acts that risk not covering the expenses. “We’d have another empty building in Turners Falls,” he said.

The nonprofit’s concerns include keeping the lights on and building a marquee to advertise their shows. Board member Kimberley Morin said there were years when she expected the institution to fail, and was happy to see it clear one more month.

Glazier said the board is responsible primarily for the venue and for facilitating its use by renters, not for producing culture in Turners Falls.

Glazier said the theater needs people to not only bring ideas for entertainment but follow through on those ideas. “An idea is just an idea; until you implement that idea, it’s nothing,” he said.

Local business owner John McNamara, among the theater’s critics at the latest meeting, thanked the board. McNamara said recognition of the work done got lost in the shuffle, but hoped this would be an opportunity to re-examine things. McNamara suggested movies, which board members said could easily be done.

Brendan Kenny of Greenfield said he felt he spoke for hundreds in the county involved in the Shea’s community theater productions in supporting that offering, which he said provides an important outlet for many.

The board’s next meeting is Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby.

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