May 12 2010 12:00 AM

BoarsHead an institution

For years, the BoarsHead Theatre has been one of the most prestigious institutions on the Lansing cultural scene. Even residents who rarely attended took pride in knowing that their city could support a professional equity theater as well as a thriving community theatre scene. Nationally known actors like Paula Prentiss and local stars such as Carmen Decker and John Peakes enthralled Lansing audiences in productions whose quality rivaled those in cities like Detroit or Chicago. But now the very existence of this key local institution is in jeopardy.

I hope and believe that somehow BoarsHead will survive. Its demise would be a sad day for Lansing, an indication that the capital city of Michigan has no room for a theatre such as BoarsHead. This crisis, however, has at least one redeeming aspect; we are forced to reconsider the mission and focus of BoarsHead, in the hope that it will not merely survive but will be renewed and revitalized. BoarsHead has always been able to achieve a high artistic level, but in the past it has not reached out successfully to all the diverse elements of the greater Lansing community in its productions. If BoarsHead is to continue, it must not only aim at artistic quality but it must find ways to attract newcomers to the theatre — newcomers in age groups, ethnicity, and backgrounds for whom theater-going is today not even a consideration.

It is my hope that BoarsHead will survive but even more that it will be renewed and reinvigorated by reaching out to all segments of the Lansing community in innovative ways.

— Martha M. Bibbs East Lansing