I would like to borrow a page from the Dan Conboy playbook and reference a quote that feels fitting for the topic.
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
This particular quote is one that I’ve carried around with me for years. I’ve always thought it was attributed to Mark Twain, a fellow Hannibalian, but recently discovered variations of this quote have circulated for more than 150 years. As I read through the different versions and their uses, it was interesting to see the original version be modified over time to become a statement of hope and encouragement.
As with this quote, Quincy Community Theatre’s story has been shaped and molded over the past 97 years. We’ve overcome times of hardship when the theatre went dark from World War II until 1953. We’ve celebrated times of growth when we made the leap from 13th and Payson to the Oakley Lindsay Center. There have been countless obstacles, accomplishments, celebrations, and hardships throughout the years, but these experiences have resulted in a strong organization with an incredibly devoted community to surround it.
The past six months have been among the greatest challenges in our history. Yet, while many theatres across the nation have chosen to ‘sit this one out,’ the staff of QCT used this opportunity to recommit ourselves to our mission to offer and perpetuate quality theatre entertainment and education in the performing arts. We recognized early on that theatre doesn’t lose its relevance or its potential to provide transformative experiences simply because we can’t sit in the same room. There are still enormously powerful stories to be told and connections that can be made through new mediums; and it is our honor to continue to provide meaningful opportunities in both entertainment and education.
We’ve tackled live streaming, video editing, virtual rehearsals, Zoom chats, and more new technology than any of us knew existed. We first tested the waters with a play reading of our 2013 production of Peter Pan with its original cast. This initial step into the virtual world opened our eyes to the potential of what we could accomplish. Our education program then ventured into worlds unknown and offered its first virtual class this spring. What started as a playwriting class transformed into a full-fledged playwriting festival that included more than 30 local volunteer actors who jumped at the opportunity to perform in the new virtual landscape. It was a chance for our QCT family to reconnect in numerous ways, and it opened our eyes even further to the possibilities that awaited us on the virtual stage.
As summer approached and regulations were loosened, we worked diligently to develop practices and procedures that would enable us to safely bring students back to the theatre. These adjustments meant we were able to present a full line-up of in-person summer classes. From playwriting to Shakespeare and pre-school to adults, QCT’s education program continues to provide amazing opportunities for connection and encourages creative thinking, problem-solving, and fun.
As we look to the fall and winter, there is still a great amount of uncertainty – winds whose directions are still unknown. But, we continue to adjust our sails. Though our season is still on hold until we can present our magnificent line-up of shows in the way we originally set out to do, we are as busy as ever and hope you will take part in upcoming opportunities.
The education department is hopping. Brendan is hard at work to develop in-person and virtual programming options for area classrooms; a full slate of fall classes for ages 3 through adult was announced today; and production is currently underway on She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms, by Qui Nyugen. The original script was adapted for the virtual stage, and we are thrilled to present our first fully-virtual student theatre production on October 6 at 7:30 pm.
In case you missed the announcement, you definitely want to mark your calendar for September 25 at 7:30 pm as we present The Ghost Light Concert: A Celebration of Community and Theatre. This one-night only benefit concert will feature a few of QCT’s leading ladies and celebrate the community that makes our theatre so special. I hope you will join us as we reflect on memories of QCT past and look ahead to our future.
Another variation of the quote I referenced goes like this: “You cannot control the winds; that every sailor knows. But when the favoring wind comes, it is your own fault if you do not set your sails to meet it.”
You, our QCT patrons, volunteers, and donors, are our favoring wind. Your ongoing support and encouragement, coupled with your faith in our work and our ability, propels us to take on new challenges. Your participation in our educational offerings, virtual productions, and post-show Q&As gives us great purpose, and we hope that it provides you with meaningful connection to the theatre you love and miss.
While we haven’t yet made it to the Windy City, Harvard, or the forests of France like we originally planned, we have still covered a lot of ground in 2020 with a chilly stop in Arendale, a journey back to Neverland, and a view from the top of the mountain. Thank you for joining us in these adventures. Together, we will continue to write the story of QCT.