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Parallel 45 Theatre cancels spring activities and summer festival

A crowd enjoys a performance by Parallel 45 Theatre in Traverse City. (credit: Parallel 45 Theatre)
A crowd enjoys a performance from Parallel 45 Theatre in Traverse City. (credit: Parallel 45 Theatre)

A popular theater company is canceling its summer festival in northern Michigan.

Parallel 45 Theatre says it’s taking a short pause to restructure its operations for a more sustainable future.

It comes amid the rising cost of production and financial stress due to the pandemic.

The 10-week festival is a series of plays and musicals that brings in artists from around the world.

Board president Erin Anderson Whiting said everything in terms of cost has skyrocketed and that’s taken a toll on the non-profit.

“Running that summer festival is hundreds of thousands of dollars and nobody wants to cancel the festival, but we want to be here for the community long-term, and we think that we can be,” she said.

Anderson Whiting said the company typically hires about 60 people in the summer.

They pay wages for production staff and actors, housing for those that travel to the region, and stage materials.

The company will use the temporary pause to restructure its operations and focus on its long-term future.

“It’s definitely going to involve more partnerships, more collaboration with other venues and other organizations," she said. "We are exploring ideas of doing things in the offseason, so sort of all of that is on the table.”

The company will still host its winter play reading series starting February 9th at Commongrounds Cooperative in Traverse City.

Tyler Thompson is the Morning Edition host and reporter at Interlochen Public Radio.