Ohio University Announces End of 57-Year-Old Summer Theater Program

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Ohio University’s production of “Kiss Me Kate” at the Monomoy Theatre will be the last for the 57-year-old summer theater program, university officials announced Monday.

Dean of Fine Arts Margaret “Peg” Kennedy-Dygas wrote in a letter to alumni and friends that the university will not renew its lease of the Monomoy, located in Chatham, Massachusetts, next year.

In the letter, Kennedy-Dygas cited financial and lease obligations as some of the reasons for the decision to end the program at the Monomoy:

The buildings on the grounds of Monomoy are very old and in poor condition. The terms of the lease and upcoming major renovations necessary for the safety of students and staff represent enormous obligations for the leasee, Ohio University.

The potential major investment of funds in a property not owned by Ohio University, and lying far outside its normal service range, represents a situation that would cost the College of Fine Arts and Ohio University a great deal of money without the hope of ever realizing a return on that investment. Moreover, the magnitude of the costs necessary to continue our program at Monomoy would mean severe shortage of funds for our programs on the Athens campus, which is not an acceptable arrangement. This is the fundamental reason for the decision not to renew the lease.

The Monomoy was originally purchased by former President and Mrs. John C. Baker in 1958 to establish the summer theater program.  The university has been leasing the theater from heirs and descendants of Baker.

The university says while it is decided to end the summer theater program at the Monomoy it is also exploring opportunities to establish a resident theater program at the university’s new Dublin campus.