D.C's Forum Theatre to Close Its Doors After Fifteen Seasons
It was announced today that Washington D.C.'s established Forum Theatre will be closing its doors after fifteen seasons.
Despite operating at the forefront of the theatre scene in the nation's capital for over a decade, the theatre's board made the unanimous decision to shutter the company, citing an explosion of companies in the D.C. theatre scene and lack of sustainable growth.
Read the full closing statement from the company below:
"When Forum Theatre was founded almost 15 years ago, there was an allure to creating political art in the nation's capital. The four founders of Forum (Michael Dove, Paul Frydrychowski, Kelly Bartnik, and Mark Wright) wanted to focus on three areas: 1) directly political work; 2) the overt and clear case for how each play was directly linked to social issues and the everyday lives of our audiences; and 3) completing that connection by creating opportunities for audiences to speak to one another, as opposed to heavily moderated and one-way talk-backs. These concepts eventually coalesced into Forums's mission - to use theatre to spark dialogue and strengthen community by producing adventurous work from -- and for -- a diversity of voices.
Our seasons were built to be conversation starters, with strong points of view and challenging questions from a variety of perspectives. We created and began hosting our OpenForum discussions and offered a space for audience-driven post-show discussions after nearly every performance. We emphasized the present-day relevance of each production at every stage of the process with every artist collaboration and with our audience. Forum4All, our "pay what you want" ticket initiative, removed the financial barrier to participating in the arts. The result was transformative, as those new audience members added a new and vital richness to our discussions, and we've been pleased to see the policy adopted by other theatres both locally and nationally.
Excitingly, the DC Theatre scene shifted with us. Dynamic audience engagement programs have cropped up in nearly every venue. Connecting productions with what's happening in the world has become the norm for this community and our well-informed, highly-engaged public.
As we began preparing for Forum's 15th season, we stopped to ask ourselves a very pointed question: "Have we accomplished the challenges we set for ourselves?"
And the answer was a clear an enthusiastic, "Yes. Yes, we have." And so, after nearly fifteen years, 53 productions, and nine world premieres, Forum Theatre will be closing our doors, secure in the knowledge that we have done what we came to do. We've had the good fortune of working with hundreds of artists and the pleasure of having thousands of audience members come through our doors to share their own stories and experiences with us and with one another.
Thank you, on behalf of the Board of Directors and the team at Forum, for your many years of support. We wouldn't be where we are today without you and we'd love to have you with us as we wrap up this part of our story. Join us on June 11th at Blind Whino for the big send off! Cocktails will start at 6:30 pm, followed by a staged reading of A Number, by our most-frequently presented playwright, Caryl Churchill, and featuring Jon Hudson Odom and Craig Wallace.
We look forward to celebrating Forum's impact with you on June 11th.
All the best,
Michael and KJ"