By: Skip Maloney (Theatre Volunteer)
If you've ever seen a Thalian Association production at Thalian Hall, then you're already aware of the tireless and often-thankless work of that Association's board of directors in bringing live theater to the citizens of Wilmington. In recent weeks, however, that same board of directors has turned against the people they were elected to serve, those who do the actual live theater work; the association members, volunteers and artists of this officially-designated Community Theater of North Carolina.
Responding to a decision to consolidate two Artistic Director positions into one, members of this community registered their concerns on the Association's Facebook pages, only to have their comments removed. When the community created its own Facebook page to keep others informed, it was threatened with a cease-and-desist order for use of Association logos.
The board communicated with a local business, asking a manager to prohibit one of his employees from posting comments about this issue on Facebook. The board has even hired a lawyer to address the community's concerns.
No one disputes the board's right to make decisions, though this board is challenging the community's right to express any concerns they have. Blocking reasonable attempts at civil discourse? Deliberately obstructing the free exchange of information and threatening the community they were elected to serve with legal actions? The Thalian Association needs and deserves better leadership than that.