A BLOG BY SHANNON FISHER
The reputations of both the Firehouse Theatre Project’s Board of Directors and Carol Piersol have been damaged by Piersol’s recent ousting, but the most indelible destruction has been to the theater itself. Theaters have spirits of their own and the FTP’s spirit was cultivated by the vision of the Firehouse’s original members.
If the theater is to survive, its injuries must be healed. The current Board of Directors, Piersol, the interim leaders and the Richmond theater community as a whole have an obligation to put the future of the theater first.
The FTP has earned immense respect, success and accolades over the past 20 years under the artistic direction of Piersol. She perpetuated the vision of the founding members. With the resignation of many of the emeritus members, and with Piersol’s ouster, what currently (and tenuously) remains is the vision of a board that perhaps does not deeply understand the true spirit of the Firehouse. If we are to preserve that spirit, the Firehouse Theatre Project needs to be returned to its original family.
While the board may have hoped to make a savvy business decision, it is not the business aspect of the organization that has garnered the FTP’s reputation of excellence. The board’s attempt to steer the FTP in a different direction might have been well-intended, but change is not always good – especially in Richmond.