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The show goes on

The show goes on The show goes on

Communities need different kinds of leaders.

There are business and development leaders who tend to the local economy like a gardener does their crops. There are civic and elected leaders who work to make the community a better place through their service and making tough choices. There are leaders who look out for the spiritual health of the community and leaders who look out for the community’s physical health.

Doug Robertson’s place among this pantheon of local leaders was in his contribution in ensuring performing arts, quite literally, took center stage. Robertson has been busy in recent weeks directing the Medford Area Community Theater production of “The Cemetery Club” and working to get the cast and crew ready for opening night on February 10.

Robertson called off rehearsal last Thursday night because he was feeling under the weather. After family members were unable to get in touch with him, a friend entered his home over the weekend and found Robertson had passed away. He was 69-years-old.

It is hard to understate the role Robertson played in the area’s arts community. Prior to his retirement, Robertson taught English and drama at Medford Area Senior High School from 1975 until retiring in 2009. Generations of young people got their first thrill of being in the spotlight under his guidance and direction. While some of Robertson’s former students have gone on to careers in the theater or performance industry, all of them gained a greater appreciation for the performing arts.

Robertson has been a driving force behind the Medford Area Community Theater’s many productions over the years. If given the choice, he would stay well behind the scenes serving as a director or producer on many shows. It was a special treat when he would take the stage lending his own acting talents to the production.

Robertson was likewise an unabashed champion for the arts in the community. He recognized the value the arts bring to a community as well as the community’s need to invest in them. The arts bring meaning to life, elevating daily actions of everyday life to being a celebration of life’s potential. Robertson seldom shied away from expressing his beliefs on the value of the arts, even when in the minority, saying what needed to be said whether or not people were in the mood to listen to it.

Robertson’s passing leaves a hole in the heart of the community. It is a wound that will take time to heal and which leaves us all diminished. Despite this grief, the show must go on. Others will step up to fill Robertson’s shoes, finishing the work he started. In a few week’s time, the seats in the Red/White Theater will be filled. As the lights in the theater dim and the stage comes alive with action, Robertson’s legacy will live on.