A Message From The Artistic Director

Dear Friends,

Reflecting back on these 20 plus years spent here at the Mac-Haydn, I am filled with both tremendous pride and the most sincere gratitude. The opportunities that this legendary theater has provided for so many artists for 54 years have been nothing short of extraordinary. Entire careers, friendships, and business relationships have been launched from this small but mighty operation year after year. It has been a home base for so many artists and an even larger home to the thousands upon thousands of generous supporters, tireless volunteers and, in this man’s humble opinion, the greatest of all audiences.

When tasked with taking the helm, there was so much to learn and it seems that the learning never really ends. Perhaps that is why I love the job so much, because as an artist we are always striving to create the next masterpiece, improve a process, or to discover the next best show. Theater is, after all, a live shared experience that happens in the here and now. There is an immediacy to it that makes it such a thrilling art form and such a joy to be a part of. It can be a direct reflection of life happening right before our eyes and also a direct reflection of the state of the world in which we create these stories.

It is this reflection of the world that makes this year’s annual fundraising one of the most important pleas in our theater’s history. There can be no doubt that our incredible growth over the last several seasons has been remarkable, to say the least. Only a few seasons ago we saw record attendance and crowds the likes of which we had never seen before. We were, for lack of a better word, booming. Unfortunately this season, along with last season, our return to the boards has been less than booming. The country has faced something we never could have imagined and sadly we are still seeing the aftershocks from the catastrophic events of 2020.

Attendance is simply not where it was and we are facing a most critical moment like many arts organizations. With ticket sales not achieving what is needed to endure, we are constantly working to improve the process of creating so we can continue to deliver the best theater in the region. By producing ten shows this summer, we have narrowly made it through another season and we are determined more than ever to fight for the success of the upcoming 2023 season.

Plans are already underway for next season, and we are busy figuring out best practices to navigate this new world with its rising costs of just about everything from lumber to labor. We are being especially conservative in budgeting and spending to maintain our presence and keep the magical Mac-Haydn afloat and thriving. Your end-of-year giving is the most important of all — it sustains us through the winter to prepare another lineup of hit shows that make our summers so full and special. There is much to be done and with your support, I am confident that we will weather these difficult times and get back to where we were just a few short years ago.

As always, we are so grateful for your unwavering support for so many years and I promise to work tirelessly to see us prosper once again. This theater means so much to so many and it is you, our supporters, who ultimately make this happen year after year. Thank you for all you contribute and an even bigger thank you for cheering us on all season long. We simply couldn’t do it without you.

As we say farewell to another great summer, I look forward to welcoming you all back next season for another thrilling lineup of the great shows we have become famous for creating. Until then, I am wishing each and every one of you a happy and healthy year ahead filled with peace, good health, and plenty of joy.

My Best Always,

John Saunders
Artistic Director


We hear it a lot: "I don't know how you do it!"

Well, we don't do it alone. Our volunteers who you see ushering, in the food booth and coffee house are the backbone of our theatre and we are always looking for more.

    Here are some specific things our volunteers assist with.
  • Housing: Maintenance and setup for our artists and technical team.
  • Hosting: We are often looking for additional space for our talented and interesting teams. Please fill out our Housing Information Form if you are interested in hosting an artist for part or all of the summer. We will work with you to find a good fit.
  • Distribution: Rack cards and posters around Columbia County.
  • Cars: we have a small fleet that are stored for the winter. These need to be started up and taken for service and check-ups.
  • Copying: Scripts, inserts, and other incidental things. It's a very necessary but time consuming process.
  • Lawn Mowing and Gardening: Having some help with our extensive properties would be wonderful.

Please contact us at jrodgers@machaydntheatre.org to inquire further about becoming a volunteer.