The Silver Spring Black Box Theatre will no longer be the home of Forum Theatre. Photo by Mike Mowery.
As first reported by The Washington Post, the decision to close down after 14 seasons was made unanimously by Michael Dove, a cofounder and artistic director, and the organization’s board of directors.
In a message yesterday to supporters, leadership wrote, “Our seasons were built to be conversation starters, with strong points of view and challenging questions from a variety of perspectives. We created and began hosting our OpenForum discussions and offered a space for audience-driven post-show discussions after nearly every performance.
“Forum4All, our ‘pay what you want’ ticket initiative, removed the financial barrier to participating in the arts. The result was transformative, as those new audience members added a new and vital richness to our discussions, and we’ve been pleased to see the policy adopted by other theatres both locally and nationally.
“As we began preparing for Forum’s 15th season, we stopped to ask ourselves a very pointed question: ‘Have we accomplished the challenges we set for ourselves?’” the message continued. “And the answer was a clear an enthusiastic, ‘Yes. Yes, we have.’”
Board president Christina Ritchie told the Post “[Dove] started to talk about his vision for what he wanted to do artistically,” Ritchie said. “It was very exciting for some people, but there were other people who said, ‘That sounds interesting, but it isn’t for me.’ And I think that’s okay. But as we started to think about how that vision fit in with what we were trying to do from an organizational growth perspective, we looked at it and said this pivot doesn’t fit with what we might be able to support on the other side of it, in all ways.”
Forum Theatre is one of four companies that make up the consortium, which stages performances in the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre at 8641 Colesville Rd., next to the AFI Silver Theatre. The others are Lumina Studio Theatre, Live Garra Theatre and Artstream.
The space is also available for rent to artists and arts organizations for one-night engagements and limited runs.
Forum Theatre plans a celebration of its last season beginning with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m. followed by a reception and staged reading on Monday, June 11 at the Blind Whino SW Arts Club, 700 Delaware St., S.W. in Washington.