Looking back and ahead at Perseverance Theatre

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003

By now most of you are aware that I recently accepted a position as associate producer at the Public Theater in New York. I am writing this My Turn to say "thank you." Thank you to all of the artists who have made this such a rich journey for me, and who have taken Perseverance Theatre to new and exciting places. Thank you to the audiences who have supported the work by coming and letting me know what you think. Thank you to our volunteers who make the work possible. And thank you to those of you who go the extra mile and give to us financially.

As I have gone on this journey with Perseverance Theatre, I have come to believe that there are few places in the world with as rich a cultural vocabulary, as deep a history and as compelling a group of artists as Alaska. And there are few audiences in America that could rival the intelligence and the sophistication of Perseverance Theater's. It has truly been an honor to lead this institution for the past six seasons for all of these reasons.

During my time with Perseverance Theatre we have endeavored to create professional theater that feels like Alaska and, as I look back, I see the results of our work. We are truly representing the diversity of our state, with actors coming from as far north as Barrow and as close by as 3rd Street. Meanwhile, we are known nationally as a home for the most exciting new voices in the American theater. And the future looks even brighter: We'll break ground on our new building this spring, we are two years away from realizing a $1.1 million endowment fund, our budget is balanced and we are no longer threatened by deficits. We are also in the midst of planning our first Anchorage season, with spring and fall shows planned for the 2004-05 season, and a spring tour of "Up" will head north this winter. Finally, we are currently booking a national tour of our groundbreaking, uniquely Alaskan production of "Moby Dick" for the spring of 2005.

The staff of Perseverance Theatre has worked hard over the past six seasons to build on the successes of our founder, Molly Smith, and we have created an exciting organization for a new artistic leader to inherit. In my travels over the past two months I have heard many of the country's most innovative emerging voices in the American theater express interest in this job. An impressive selection committee has been formed which represents our board, staff, artists and community members, and they plan to have an exciting new leader in the job by summer. I know that you all will welcome this lucky individual to Juneau as warmly as you welcomed me.

On a final note, I hope that you plan to join me for the festivities on Friday, Dec. 12, as Perseverance celebrates its 25th anniversary at Centennial Hall with a recreation of the first show Perseverance ever produced, 1978's "Pure Gold," to be followed by music from the Panhandle Crabgrass Revival Band and beer from the Alaskan Brewing Company (sold at 1978 prices!). I hope to have the chance to thank you all in person there.

• Peter DuBois is the departing artistic director of Perseverance Theatre.

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