By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor
Kyle and Jared West have bought Fort Salem Theatre from Jay and Lynne Kerr.
“They have great youth and energy,” Mr. Kerr said. He said it was a whirlwind sale, executed in under 30 days.
Kyle, who will be the Executive and Artistic Director, told The Chronicle in an email interview, “In all honesty, I found the theatre listing on a Monday, traveled to New York and visited the theatre on a Wednesday, toured the surrounding cities on a Thursday (with my Realtor Penny Spiezio of Penny Dot Realty) and had my mind made up by Friday. After touring dozens of venues across the U.S., it was very easy for me to know when I found the perfect fit.”
He said he’d been looking for “quite some time,” spurred most recently by career changes “that gave me the flexibility to really make a major life change.”
“It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Fort Salem Theater and the local community,” he says. “I’ve always lived in major cities, but the local landscape and small-town culture called to me at this time in my life.
“The more I researched the history of the building, the faster I fell…I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start creating theatre again.”
A Cape Cod native, Mr. West said, “Theatrically, I’m known for producing larger-than-life musicals, and I look forward to bringing that reputation with me to Salem.”
On buying a theater during the time of COVID, when performing arts venues remain shuttered by law, he said, “One of my dear touring colleagues said to me ‘Some of the most successful businesses were started in down economies, or down times. It’s a time for pause to plan for greater things to come!’ and I couldn’t agree more.”
He says, “Theatre has been around for centuries. This is certainly a challenging time for the arts, and for the world, but we’re bound to bounce back stronger than ever. And hopefully soon!”
A Cape Cod native, he said, “I’ve lived and worked in theatre in Boston, New York City, Arizona, and most recently Dallas, Texas.” Husband Jared recently ended a long career as manager of Learning Delivery for a major airline, Kyle said. “He will be working full time outside of the theatre, but he has lots of experience as musician (pianist), music director, singer and actor.”
Mr. West said they’ve moved “upstate,” still looking for a permanent home.
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