Staci and I founded Flying Anvil Theatre to tell really great stories – stories that illuminate the human condition in all its tattered glory. Little did we know that the process would become its own compelling story, crammed full of melodrama, farce, tragedy and mystery. We knew we faced some challenges unique to Knoxville – specifically the lack of available space in which to produce the kind of theatre we’re capable of. I’ve written about this before…and as of last month, we thought we’d found the answer in a former tire store/car dealership downtown.
Although we didn’t manage to raise enough money to sign a long term lease, we were able to produce VENUS IN FUR there, creating essentially a pop up theatre inside. It was a hell of a lot of work, but I was proud of what we accomplished and audiences responded to our ambitious vision of a professional level intimate theatre that offers surprising shows you might not ordinarily see here. Better yet, a couple of our Board members stepped up to sign a year’s lease….giving us the chance to settle in for a bit and show more of what we can do.
But it wasn’t to be.
The owner (and renovator) of the property has the opportunity to potentially sell the building and the new lease terms proved to be unworkable for us. So we’re going back to the drawing board, once again looking for – not the perfect space….but one that’s possible. It’s a setback, but not an unusual position for a theatre in Knoxville to find itself in.
But this problem is nothing compared to the life-changing challenges experienced right now by so many friends.
We’ve had Board members step down or have to limit their involvement due to a major health crisis. A few others found that the demands of their work was making it hard to be a part of our future planning. And there have been creative differences along the way as well. But we wish our departing Board members well – with affection and immense gratitude for their service and generosity. We simply could not have done all we accomplished this year without you! Our current and new Board members will carry on the work you made possible.
Unfortunately, co-founder and Executive Director Staci Swedeen is also leaving us. Her contribution to Flying Anvil Theatre is incalculable. Taking on the hard, hard work of running the business end of things, Staci shepherded this crazy idea through the difficult first couple of years by not only volunteering her enormous talents as performer, writer and teacher, but also keeping us on track financially. We have always operated in the black and end the year with a healthy bank account due to her guidance and oversight. Thank you, Staci, from all of us. You will always be a beloved part of the Flying Anvil story.
This holiday season is a good time to take stock….to catch our breath and take stock of what we’ve learned before plunging into planning mode once again. I’m grateful for the lesson I am learning from all the people I’ve crossed paths with this year. It’s a lesson about balance, about staying willing and open, in spite of uncertainty. I don’t always know where the path is leading. Sometimes I’m not even sure there is a path! But if we keep taking one step at a time, being open to possibility, I truly believe we’ll end up where we’re supposed to be. Maybe not where we thought we were heading, but somewhere worth the journey.
I am so very grateful for every one of you who have walked with us.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.