SCREENSHOTS of the Old Firehouse Theater Website
at 1245 E. State, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
- Opened Summer 2006. Closed February 15, 2010
- Produced 78 shows & events: 305 different performances in 40 months, not counting band shows.
- Edited 66 shows on video to play on Access Fort Wayne.
- Tickets were cheapest in town: Usually $6 for adults, $4 for kids.
* * * Use these LINKS. Links in screenshot below do not work. * * *
What Went Wrong.
Wizard of Oz photos
Christmas Carol photos
History of shows at the Firehouse
Videos of Shows which played on Access Fort Wayne
All about the Firehouse building - trying to find help
Jeannette Jaquish's Work Log
Ecstatic Theatrics - Jeannette's new theater group!
The Firehouse Theater:
Protecting your right to yell "Theater" in a crowded firehouse!
2013 - LOOKING BACK - Jeannette Jaquish, former director operator
Full of optimism I invested $40,000 in opening the Firehouse Theater, paying architects to argue our case at a hearing in Indianapolis to not have to install a sprinkler system, paying an architect to design platforms which the building contractor said was too complicated, building a stage and audience platforms, paying to re-hang the doors so they swing out, buying furniture & upholstering seats, creating a curtain system, a lighting system, new exit signs, a $900 wheelchair ramp up to the stage which we never needed to use. Insurance began at $240 a month. Rent began at $1,800 a month, but lowered each year to $1,100 a month at the end. Utilities were $700+ a month in the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter in that non-insulated building. Every year I lost about $10,000.
If people had come to see a show, we could have paid the bills. Usually, there were more people onstage than in the audience.
I kept trying to fix everything and improve, thinking that then people would come see a show. But after the stage and audience platforms were finished and beautiful, the sign was up and looked great, the shows were respectable and very enjoyable and half the price of others in town, I still could not get the thousands of people in the neighborhood, or the newspaper entertainment editors, or the other theaters' directors to come even once to see a show (except Harvey Cocks once). I could get actors, mostly kids, to audition for shows, but not more than a dozen previous actors ever attended a show. Parents had time to drive their kids to rehearsal and come watch then perform, but evidently didn't think their kids would benefit from seeing a show.
Yet I PAID ALL MY BILLS, by doing other work and using my husband's earnings.
A new director in town, joined early 2009, saying he would save the Firehouse. He said that now that he was here, I was the Little Engine that Could. I thought he would alternate productions with me and help pay costs. Instead he ran up my cell phone bill that I let him use, over $100, and once $220, nearly every month, and gave me excuses why he would pay later for the three shows (12 weekends) he performed onstage at the Firehouse. Sick of the struggle, and still thinking he meant well, in summer of 2009, I said I was leaving it all to him if he'd just take over paying the rent and utilities. He took over and my cupboard and my extra lights disappeared. He did multiple shows and then got evicted after 2 and a half months because he never even finished paying the first month's rent. He told his actors that he had paid up months in advance and that I was jealous of his stage improvements, and that I convinced the landlords to evict him. He ran up my utility bills 2 months in arrears -- electricity, gas and water: all were on turn-off notices. I had to pay his utility bills about $600 and my cell phone bill that he ran up over $600, plus what he owed me for using the stage 12 weekends, a total over $2,400. He has paid me back less than $900 so far.
But that's not what killed the Firehouse. It was the nice people of Fort Wayne, the regular people who go to church, and are honest and hardworking. For some reason it never occurred to them to go even once to that little theater that they drove past every day or saw notices for in the newspaper. It is their right to do as they please. I just wish I could have figured out how to reach them. To understand how something that I dreamed of since I was a child was so unimportant to them.