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Opinion Letters Life experiences will never be forgotten

Dear Friends of the Theatre,

We write this letter to the community as an expression of appreciation and gratitude for your support of our creative efforts while working at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

In the last four and a half years, we have had the wonderful opportunity to create and perform over 35 musicals and plays, dozens of special events and served as a production crew for hundreds of traveling concerts and road shows. During that time we have met and made life-long friends and have had experiences and opportunities that will never be forgotten. As with all things, however, things progress and change and each of us employed at the theatre knew we were coming to a crossroads in our lives and felt it was time for each of us to examine which path we should each take towards our own futures.

It goes without saying that a life in the theatre is exactly that – a life. There are no shortcuts to success, but rather a full-on, one thousand percent commitment of hard work at all times by all people involved. For the past four and a half years, we have dedicated our lives to the commitment needed to make a theatre successful. The production team has worked tirelessly with hundreds of volunteers to produce quality work that has been enjoyed by not only our community, but by many people from surrounding counties and states. We all did it joyfully, with great passion and excitement because we knew the audience and ticket buyers deserved more than our best.

So with heavy hearts, but confidence in our decisions, we have decided it is time to step away from the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. We are excited to spend more time with our families, to plant our gardens, to visit with friends and relatives and so many other things that we have been unable to do because of our workloads. This is a positive change in all our lives. There are, however, negative aspects that come along with personal choices. As with any situation, whispers and rumors will be said and said again. Normally, we would not address such behavior, but out of respect for our families and friends and the integrity of work we have produced in the past four and a half years, certain comments we have heard do need to be addressed. At no point was anyone fired or given the choice to quit or be fired. No one made demands and stormed out in a fit of rage when those demands were not met. Our leaving the theatre is completely a choice made for our need to refresh our minds, bodies and relationships.

The theatre concerts will continue, the Overlook theatre productions will resume someday – we're not sure when or where at this point, but they will continue. As long as there are people eager to be creative and an audience eager to be entertained, the Overlook Theatre Company will exist – be it in a plush location, a small street corner building or even someone's backyard. When the theatre is in you, it doesn't leave. It sometimes just needs a season of winter to produce a bright, new and beautiful spring.

So once again, we thank you. We thank you for allowing us to share our talents, our dreams, our hearts and passions and we hope along the way we have touched your emotions and brought you happiness, laughter and extreme heaps of joy. You have brought us much of the same. Maybe we have taught you something about the world or even changed your life for the better. That's the wonder and magic of the theatre, that in just a few short hours of sitting in the dark an audience can be educated, entertained, moved, enlightened, angered, pleased, excited, saddened, heartbroken, elated and so much more. The famous children's writer Ronald Dahl put it best, "Without stories, we’re just eating machines with shoes."

Over the years, the theatre has taught us an abundant amount about life, on stage and off stage, and that the most important aspect of any situation (be it in business, personal matters, relatives, friendships or co-workers) are the relationships created, nurtured and respected. We will miss the buzz of activity on show days and the excitement of the house going dark as the stage lights illuminate. But more than anything else, we will always hold in our hearts the familiar faces, the hugs and hellos and a community of great people who deserve a never-ending amount of applause and standing ovations.

With joyful gratitude and respect,

P.S. Thanks to our Moms and Dads - you taught us well.

Scotty and Nikki Corbin, Samuel Crabtree and Effie Rosbert


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