Dear friends, 

36 innovative productions, 16 thought-provoking play readings, 5 high-energy fundraisers, 6 newly-developed works, 4 years of empowering educational programming, 23 young artists working their first paid contracts, 500 professional artists employed, and more than 10,000 audience members applauding from their seats. 

We couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished–together. It’s been a magical 13 years, and it all happened because of you. 

You gave generously of your time, your talent, and your financial resources. You shared our belief that northern Michigan would welcome a unique addition to its cultural landscape, and that a boundary-pushing, professional theatre company with artists from across the country and around the world could thrive right in our backyard. We laughed, we cried, we challenged perspectives and assumptions, and we felt something together. We learned that a collective artistic experience can be an antidote to fear and confusion, and a powerful instrument of hope. 

Yet, we all know that the world has changed. In the wake of the pandemic, the national arts ecosystem has been decimated. Across the country, professional theatre admissions are down 33% from 2019 levels, and income is down 35%. This year, more than 60% of theatres are projecting deficits. We are hopeful that things are improving–slowly–but the arts are hurting and sometimes the blow is simply too great for recovery. Unfortunately, this is true for Parallel 45 Theatre. Despite the heroic efforts of our board, staff, and community, we are financially unable to move forward, and we will be closing our doors permanently. 

Writing these words feels impossible and painful. However, with some distance and reflection, we also find ourselves feeling overwhelming gratitude for each and every one of you. It is impossible not to feel joyful as we reflect upon the stories we told, the voices we uplifted, and the close community we created. 

Together, we seized an opportunity and now we have another one in front of us that we must seize, as well.  We have the opportunity to ensure that our community’s arts organizations continue. We can make that a reality, but only if we support them–and only if we tell our friends, neighbors, corporations, and elected officials to support them, too. We hope you will consider making a gift to one of these local arts organizations this holiday season. The arts need us all if they’re going to survive. 

With a lifetime of gratitude,

Erin Anderson Whiting and  Kit McKay
Founders, Parallel 45 Theatre