Year End Report
2020 Year End Report
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
“A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It’s my favorite part of the business, live concerts.”
– Elvis Presley
In 2020, as our world shut down due to the Coronavirus global pandemic, The Lerner went dark and live concerts, which are our identity, were shuttered. Across the live events industry, I watched my colleagues close their theatre doors, some never able to re-open. I read stories about the mental health of live events professionals, who struggled with the shutdown of our industry and attempts to find ways to keep a roof over their heads without any work. At the same time, I read headlines about COVID Relief stimulus packages that did not include the live events industries.
If I could sum 2020 up in two words, it would be gratefulness and determination. Gratefulness to those that saw the future of The Lerner and its importance to the community, far past this pandemic, and determination of my team at The Lerner to find a new identity and a new relevance, despite not being able to bring live events to our community.
There was still much to be proud of that came out of last year and by reevaluating what we deemed “success,” we had a successful year! Nearly $600,000.00 in technical theatre upgrades were completed and installed, which will set The Lerner Theatre forward for the next 5-7 years. We were able to pivot to virtual performances during the stay-at-home order, streaming live music performances and organ concerts from The Lerner stage through our social media platforms, that reached people all over the world.
For me, the most exciting thing to come of 2020 was the display windows for Christmas on the exterior of our building. It was heart breaking to approach a Christmas season and to not be able to gather in the Christmas spirit in The Lerner with our patrons. I approached our partners at Premier Arts with the concept of outward Christmas displays that anyone could come take a part in. Within two weeks, the talented team at Premier Arts had conceptualized, built and installed window displays about the classic Christmas story, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The overwhelming response from the community was of thankfulness that these windows brought the Christmas spirit that so many needed during such a trying year living through a pandemic. This project was incredibly successful, that we are now actively planning to make this an annual tradition.
In 2021, we are looking forward to a new chapter. Efforts to safely open our building to the public again have been ongoing with the Elkhart County Health Department and an announcement was made that social distanced shows will begin at The Lerner in May.
Thank you for continuing to support The Lerner Theatre. We are grateful to Mayor Roberson, his administration, the Elkhart City Council, Lerner Governing Board and Friends of The Lerner for their dedication to our operations and to the employees of The Lerner that remained dedicated to the building during the pandemic. The ache that our team felt by not being able to welcome you into our building in 2020 to enjoy live concerts and events has begun to fade into excitement that we will be able to gather soon in the beauty of The Lerner.
Michelle Frank, Executive Director