March 23, 2020

Dear Friend of the Craterian –

In TMTO’s currently mounted but as yet unopened production of Children of Eden, the character Eve sings that the “spark of creation is blazing in [her] blood:”

“I see a mountain and I want to climb it
I see a river and I want to leave shore
Where there was nothing let there be something
Something made by me
There’s things waiting for me to invent them
There’s worlds waiting for me to explore
I am an echo of the eternal cry of
Let there be…”

In his book “The Everlasting Man,” GK Chesterton states that “art is the signature of mankind.” Chesterton observes that the earliest records of humanity’s presence on earth are drawings; words would come later…but first, pictures. In our dawning humanity our first impulse was to say something about the world around us, even before we had words. Art was our first language, our first primal expression of what it means to be human.

Fast forward through the eons from those ancient days when cave walls were canvas to today, when our canvas is a glowing screen, and what we see are terrifying images of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its devastating toll on life and our economy. And so, like every other arts organization around the world, leadership at the Craterian is grappling with difficult decisions about how to ensure the survival of our institution and mission.

The Craterian was the first theater in the region to announce its closure based on official mandates and to then extend the closure from two weeks to two months based on “recommendations.” As a result,

  • Of the three remaining shows in our touring season, we cancelled one, postponed one, and the fate of the third, Colin Mochrie’s comedic “Hyprov,” is to-be-determined.
  • TMTO’s production of Children of Eden, mentioned above, closed two days before opening; backstage looks like a ghost town with the sets, costumes and props all in place, just where we left them when we announced to the cast that our opening was on hold;
  • We cancelled our Next Stage production of [title of show].
  • All but one of the 11 rental events scheduled during – or in the immediate aftermath of – our closure have cancelled or postponed.

In other words, the Craterian is in the same crisis as every other theater in our community and around the world, and if your personal circumstances allow, any donation you could make at this moment would be life-giving to our mission and cause.

No one knows how long the pandemic or its devastating effects are going to last. Depending on whom you read or listen to, our collective near-term future is beyond bleak. Regardless, I believe there is an indomitable impulse, or spirit, in us all that will once again rise up and take center stage at the Craterian Theater at The Collier Center for the Performing Arts.

Indeed, if you look closely at Craterian Performances’ logo, you might note that it looks something like a flame, which is the intention. When our logo was designed, we didn’t want the image to represent stagecraft, a spotlight, for instance, or some performing arts discipline (which one would we choose when we represent so many?), but rather, we wanted it to conjure the elemental and inextinguishable source of it all: the spark of creation.

For the last 23 years, the Craterian Theater has been Medford’s locus of art and culture and entertainment, where we all gather in community to celebrate our humanity. For now, we’ll keep our distance. But then, when the time is right, we’ll gather again because despite the name, you can’t live life from a living room; if you want the full experience, you’ll have to come to the Craterian’s stage, where It’s Life. Don’t Miss It.

Wishing you health, perseverance and peace.

Stephen McCandless
Executive Director

Next Stage Repertory Company
Teen Musical Theater of Oregon
GingerBread Jubilee

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