(Alexandria, MN) In a public letter to the community Theatre L'Homme Dieu's Executive Director, Nicole Mulder, express that she is convinced Theatre L'Homme Dieu patrons are the most patient and accommodating people around. Mulder says she's "watched as you use mobile flashlights to find your car in the pitch dark after a show and stood with you in a rain puddle before a show. And every night you smile and comment about how lucky we are."
While agreeing that we are lucky, she adds that behind the scenes (literally) those puddles are much more of an issue. Mulder cited some examples:
• Ground water damaged the stage so severely that TLHD staff had to carefully remove 5 layers of the stage, repair, and replace it just in time to receive the cast and crew of Bright Star.
• We experienced flash flooding multiple times in the shop nearly forcing the cancellation of a show.
• Directors have made adjustments to their shows to avoid potentially wet/slippery areas.
• Before and after every performance I've watched with concern for the safety of our patrons, staff, and artists. You've joined me in stopping traffic so someone can cross or navigate their car across community space to access handicapped parking.
Mulder says, "These situations from 2019 are examples of a longstanding issues around the infrastructure at TLHD. With careful planning and your help we can improve this. And we must. We owe it to you, ourselves, the community, and the Organization to seek to improve this situation. Members of the TLHD Board and I have been working on a site improvement plan for 18 months. We know we have to address the buildings on campus - the Lodge and guest housing need attention, too, and they'll undergo small repairs over the course of the next year to improve safety and keep them functional while we implement Phase 1 of a long-range plan."
TLHD to begin Phase 1a this fall
- Fall 2019 Drainage Project: Developing a solid foundation on which to build our future.
- Move water away from the theatre building:
- Regrade to encourage drainage, installation of commercial gutters, drain tile, and rain garden
- Safety improvements
- Install a two-way paved driveway, electrical trenching and increased lighting, move and improve handicapped parking, creation of a loading dock, reconfigure and light the parking lot
Phase 1a has been funded by multiple sources:
- Support by a grant from the Alexandria Area Community Foundation
- An anonymous gift of $25,000
- In-kind donations from Design Tree Engineering and other contractors who will be recognized later.
- Investment from TLHD using funds generated from the 2019 Summer Soirée
Phase 1b - Community Space
Mulder continues with the Phase 1b portion of the plan. She adds, "We hear you. We see you. We love the fact that many of you arrive up to an hour early to enjoy your time at this special venue, and some of you stay after and participate in rich conversations about the programming."
The concept of Phase 1b has been approved by the Board of Directors as the next step.
The community space will be designed this winter and we hope to have the work complete by June 2020 - the start of our 60th Season, pending funding. To do so, Mulder says we need your help.
She says there are many ways you can participate in this project.
1. Make a financial contribution. If you've enjoyed your experience at TLHD and appreciate what TLHD brings to the region, please consider a monetary gift to the Organization.
2. Help us spread the word. Your testimonials and conversations are instrumental to this project. Talk to your friends and family about what Theatre L'Homme Dieu has meant to you. Talk about the shows, your history and what you think the future of Theatre L'Homme Dieu means to you and to the Lakes Area. You never know who might be interested in contributing to TLHD / this project in some way.
3. Host a fundraiser, on your own or with our help.
4. Volunteer. This project creates volunteer opportunities for 1) Campus Beautification team 2) Phase 1b planning committee 3) Volunteer to help plant in the spring