David Hemsley Caldwell


Totem Pole Playhouse entered 2020 having just completed a very successful capital campaign thanks to our many donors. We were excited and gearing up to present our 70th anniversary season when in March of 2020 everything changed. Live entertainment was put on hold and all productions were eventually postponed until 2021. As all of you are aware, this has been a year like no other.

Despite these challenging times we are so thankful to all of our supporters who gave to the Adams County Giving Spree our 2021 Annual Fund and to our “Home” for the Holidays virtual Cabaret/Presentation this past December. We were immensely pleased to be able to reach so many Totem Pole Playhouse supporters, patrons and Alumni for “Home” for the Holidays. We had not been able to present since December of 2019 and this event gave us a presence in 2020 and an opportunity to share the many talents and memories of Totem Pole Playhouse.

In 2021 we are exploring all options and venturing into new territory. The possibility of creating a temporary onsite outdoor venue as well as producing some virtual productions that our patrons can enjoy from the comfort and safety of their own homes are both being considered for 2021.

The biggest backing we ask of our patrons is to be patient as we explore new ways to entertain you, The safety and well-being of our patrons and artists is very important and key to getting things back to normal as soon as possible. We appreciate you and miss live theatre just as much as you do.

With 2021 came other big changes at the Playhouse. James Nadeau was named Interim Executive Director and David Hemsley Caldwell was hired as Totem Pole Playhouses newest Artistic Director. Finally, Sue McMurtray continues to carry on the tradition as our beloved General Manager.

We are all so honored and humbled to call Totem Pole Playhouse home. To follow in the footsteps of such wonderful leaders as Rowan Joseph, Ray Ficca, Carl Schurr and Wil Love, William H. (Bill) Putch and the Putch family, and the Founding Artistic Director Karl Genus and his wife Muriel Benson is so very daunting and inspiring.

We all look forward to bringing live theatre back to Caledonia State Park when it is safe to gather together once again. This has been a long intermission; however, the Second Act will begin shortly and Totem Pole Playhouse will persevere.

David Caldwell is Totem Pole Playhouse’s artistic director.

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