COVID-19 has kept the Calumet Theatre from functioning as expected in recent years. Turbulence among the operating company that is responsible for upkeep and programming of the historic venue reached a boiling point in recent months. The firing of Executive Director Marlin Lee led to a revolt among several staff members and shows were cancelled or postponed for much of the summer. Theatre members and residents have put sustained pressure on the Calumet Village Council to remove the board from oversight of day-to-day happenings, due to what they allege are failures to meet requirements as laid out in the lease on the building.
The board is taking steps to mend fences. In a letter announcing the upcoming annual meeting, there are some mea culpas included. “Calumet Theatre has experienced a number of challenging episodes in the recent past, but we are determined to make things better, right the wrongs, and bring back pride and commitment to and from our community.”
All current memberships are set to be automatically extended until December 31, 2022. The board says the move is to, “make up for the past year and a half of disappointments and frustrations.” Internal memos have been leaked in recent months that show infighting among Theatre Board members, prompting the Village Council to draft a letter asking the organization to step back from its current role. Keweenaw Report believes that the letter is still being vetted by village counsel at this time. Board members and Acting Village Manager Dave Geisler have had meetings in recent weeks. It is unknown if the reconciliatory tone of the letter to members is a result of those face-to-face conversations.
The letter can be read in full below.
Hello Calumet Theatre Members,
Most of you purchased your membership, then due to COVID, were shorted what that provided you. In light of this, and our ongoing efforts to make positive changes to Calumet Theatre, we are happy to let you all know that we’re going to extend your Calumet Theatre membership until December 31, 2022. – Giving you the entire year of 2022 to make up for the past year and a half of disappointments and frustrations.
Calumet Theatre has experienced a number of challenging episodes in the recent past, but we are determined to make things better, right the wrongs, and bring back pride and commitment to and from our community. There has been a ton of work being done behind the scenes. A number of new hires including box office, events coordinator, operations manager, customer service, and sound/production. We also have a communications team on board happy to answer your questions.
The Current Board members are:
1) Sharon Turovaara 2) Jerry Mitchell 3) Jody Meneguzzo – officer-secretary 4) Janet Locatelli 5) Sam Lockwood 6) Trisia
Narhi – officer-treasurer 7) Shannon Richter – officer-Board chair 8) Mark Dice
We have our annual meeting set for September 27th. We have 8 seats currently approved by the membership. We will be asking to increase this number to 9 seats to make voting easier moving forward. The members have the authority to
increase the board by voting on it. Currently there are 3 seats up for re-election.
Our main agenda for the meeting is: – 1. Vote to increase the board seats to 9. – 2. Voting on who fills each of those available seat to which there will most likely be 4 new board members voted in.
In regards to proxies, they will be sent via Email first but anyone who does not have an active email, will get theirs in through USPS. We will certainly try to make sure everyone gets their proxy!
Each membership is counted as 1 vote: (Even if the membership is for a couple, that would be 1 vote for their collective membership as a couple.) Our date to send out proxies is September 17th.
Obviously, there have been hiccups. The board hears you and is paying attention. We want to make things better for everyone. The emails on the website and others have been inactive, so this email has been set up to bridge the gap in communications. (which, we are aware, has been lacking in the past).
There is still a lot to do, both in administration and in infrastructure. We are working hard every single day and wanted
to share all this with you.
Customer Service Team