Raising the alarm at the Firehouse
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
If the Firehouse Performing Arts and Events Center were still a functioning fire station, the alarm bells signaling an inferno had arrived on its own doorstep would be ringing around the clock.
To those passing by the Fairhaven-based venue at 1315 Harris Ave., it’s not immediately clear that the venue is at serious risk of conflagration. The danger is metaphorical, but it’s also very real.
Before COVID-19 wrought destruction on public gathering spaces around the globe, the Firehouse was a nonstop hub of creativity. On any given day, it was possible to look through the Firehouse Cafe’s interior windows into the intimate-and-accessible theater space and glimpse everything from dance and play rehearsals to fitness classes, community events, live music, occasional movie screenings and more.
But as a recent missive to local arts supporters from Bellingham Music Club’s Scott Henderson pointed out, the unique venue currently owned and operated by Teresa Dalton (pictured) is in need of immediate assistance. Indoor activities at the Firehouse have been indefinitely curtailed or postponed, and the warning bells are sounding.
“Be a ‘first responder’ for your arts community,” Henderson says. “Once or twice a year, I write to you with an invitation to our latest ‘cabaret musical’ production. Thanks to you and the Bellingham Music Club, our annual, silly, song-and-dance spectacles—A Broadway Cabaret, A Swell Party with Cole Porter, Broadway Takes On Politics, Bellingham Burlesque of 1927, and Hark! the Herald Headlines Sing!—have entertained sold-out audiences at the Firehouse for years.
“This would have been our sixth year. We barely finished our first week of rehearsal last spring when the pandemic suddenly shuttered theaters and concert halls around the world. But we are determined. We will put on a new show—Four Weddings and a Musical!. Opening night will come when COVID-19 is conquered and we all feel safe again—but we have now learned that it may come too late for the Firehouse.”
Henderson further notes that even though the Firehouse Cafe is still open and bringing in customers, it’s not enough for Dalton to stay open indefinitely.
Henderson knows of one way you can help. Those who give to Bellingham Harborview Lions Club’s “Whatcom Relief 2020” fundraising drive and direct their contributions to the Firehouse will be doing their part for the cause, as donations will be matched by the Lion’s Club through Thurs., Dec. 31 (the campaign itself will continue into the new year).
“Consider $100, and the impact you can make toward the rent, utilities and upkeep,” Henderson says. “Maybe you can commit $50, $25, or $5. Of course, $1,000 would make a dramatic statement. But whatever the amount, you’ll be joined by others, and your gift will be a financial bridge to better days to come.”
Patrons can also make tax-deductible donations directly to the Firehouse through its nonprofit fiscal sponsor (Seattle’s Allied Arts Foundation), stop by the cafe for coffee, wine, cider, sandwiches, soups and baked goods to enjoy in the outdoor space, purchase a gift card for a friend, pay $5 or more to watch one of a number of performances that were recorded live at the Firehouse between early June and November of 2020, or support a scholarship to a yoga or dance class in the theater space when it is able to reopen.
“For now, the Firehouse is surviving by its wits and serving great coffee, but animation can only be suspended for so long,” Henderson says. “We want to help Teresa, and the many local arts groups and individuals that rely on the Firehouse—your friends in dance, theater, education, health, music and so much more.”
For more details about donating to the Firehouse, go to http://www.localbiztopia.com/tiny-library/982250002 or http://www.firehouseperformingarts.com
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