To the Editor:
I have been a fan of the Heritage Foundation for a long time.
I have worked with former director, Mary Pearce on many issues over the years. I was involved in helping to produce the opening night of the Franklin Theatre, and I had Art Garfunkel there for three nights several years ago for a benefit for the Nicaragua Project, a non-profit that I’ve been involved with for 30 years. To this date, Art Garfunkel remains the biggest name to play the Franklin Theatre.
Recently I was made aware of the firing of Dan Hays as the Manager/Director of The Franklin Theatre. I was absolutely dumbfounded by this action, as Dan has been a Godsend for the Theatre. His management and communication skills have been the very thing that brought the Franklin Theatre to what it is today. Letting him go was the most asinine thing the Heritage Foundation has ever done!
Also, I know a number of the members of the now “former board” of the Franklin Theatre. The way the dismissal of the Theatre Board was done, and the manner in which it was handled is absolutely unacceptable. These board members are high-profile members of our community and supporters of the Franklin Theatre, and for them to be dismissed in such a flagrant way belies any intelligent reasoning whatsoever! Shame on the Heritage Foundation Board for this action!
If the Heritage Foundation Board of Directors thinks they can manage the Franklin Theatre they’ve got a long hard lesson to learn. Preservation and entertainment are two very distinct animals, and the entertainment one has a very vicious bite.
They have done a great disservice to our community by these recent actions, and I am afraid, marred the “feel good” opinion that most in our community has held in high regard for the Franklin Theatre. Unfortunately, the former Theatre Board Members that I have talked with have no wish to go back. The Foundation’s betrayal of their outstanding resource and leadership is beyond repair.
The entire Heritage Foundation Board needs to resign and let other local leaders who hold our community in a higher esteem to take the helm. I hope the Foundation will do the right thing and leave politics out of their decision process.
Gene Cotton
Franklin 37064