Well I think I’m finally over the shock that arrived in my inbox yesterday morning. It was a message from Hugh, owner of the Staircase Theatre, saying that they were going to cease operations on July 2. The Staircase has been a place of warmth and friendship and personal growth for me since the first time I stepped through its doors in November, 2002. From that point onwards, The Staircase and its friends changed my life. The announcement of its closure was crushing.

The Staircase was a sort of incubator for me. A cocoon even. I met improv there, and through improv I underwent a metamorphosis. Improv taught me to accept. Friends, family and life are constantly offering gifts, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. Accepting the gifts that have been handed to me has smoothed my path considerably. Improv taught me to offer too–to enrich the “scene” around me through real and positive actions. It also taught me that by taking care of myself, I would be in a stronger position to offer others my hand. It taught me to hear the truth and follow it. For introducing me to the art that taught me the true practicality of these concepts, I thank the Staircase.

I understand Hugh’s reasons for closing the doors. He’s got a young family and a demanding career as a doctor in another city. The theatre is a magical place, but its demands on his time, energy and finances must have been draining. I’m amazed he was able to hold on this long. I closed The Mouse Academy’s offices for far lesser reasons, and now I’m reaping the benefits of freedom and flexibility. It was my improv experiences at the Staircase that gave me the courage and confidence to take that leap. I hope Hugh’s life is as significantly improved as a result of his decision as mine was when I closed the office.

I found that in recent months I was spending less and less time at The Staircase. There is the obvious reason that the Theatresports run had been cancelled, but there were still regular workshops that I could have attended or taught. I’m not sure why I lost that drive to be there. It’s possible this particular phase of my metamorphosis is over, and I was ready to shed that cocoon.

There’s a new cocoon being built now. Hugh’s wife Kathy purchased the abandoned convenience store beside the Staircase and are renovating it into “The Variety Room,” to be used for improv workshops on Thursday nights. Who knows what new changes are in store for us there, but whatever they are, I accept. 🙂