Letter to the Editor - Jan. 2

January 02, 2012

And the performing arts would be where now?

To the editor:

David Hanlin wrote a column outlining possible improvements in downtown Hagerstown in a recent issue of The Herald-Mail. Among possible improvements, he cited the proposed moving of the Board of Education to a downtown site, “if located near the Arts & Entertainment District.”

I ask, what “Arts & Entertainment District?” A day or two earlier Carolyn Perrygo of Leitersburg wrote a letter hoping for a “miracle” to save the longtime Washington Country Playhouse — which has announced it will close after its April production.

Meanwhile, one of the oldest community theater companies in our nation — the Potomac Playmakers — seem to be once more having problems finding a stage, despite the wonderful new Academy Theatre (which opened so successfully a couple of years ago). Note: While living in West Virginia, I’ve appeared with the Players at the Women’s Club in the past, and made a point of participating in “Something’s Afoot” — the first show given at the then-new Academy site. Yet recent email inquiries to Potomac Playmakers via the Internet have not been answered, and no performances have been announced for some months. Also has anyone really found much entertainment in this local region?

All those interested in the arts, particularly theater, are well aware that The Maryland Theatre is still hanging by a public thread, but rarely presents any live theater; it serves mostly musical groups and orchestras, nondramatic public events, and only rarely a touring dramatic road show. Is there really any Arts & Entertainment District in Hagerstown?

One might even worry if the actors from the wonderful, new Barbara Ingram School for the Arts will be able to find enough stages to strut their stuff. From our vantage point in West Virginia, it appears Williamsport may have a more valid claim to an active arts and entertainment district than Hagerstown.

David L. Woods
Hedgesville, W.Va.

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