Written by John Face
May 22, 2022
The first 2 paragraphs of Act II Community Theatres social media press release said it all:
“It is with great sadness that we inform our supporters that our third and final performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has been canceled.
There has been a catastrophic incident at the Bohm involving a major water leak and this has caused us to cancel our show. To say we are broken hearted would be an understatement. We are crushed as our actors, musicians and crews worked so hard to bring a quality show to Albion”.
Patrons who did not find out about the cancellation prior to the 2:00 P.M. play were greeted with this sign on the front doors of the Bohm.
Early Sunday morning when staff arrived to clean the Bohm and make it ready for ACT II’s show in the afternoon they were greeted with water coming through the ceiling in the main lobby. Upon further inspection the leak was determined to be because of a urinal that malfunctioned on the 2nd floor mens room.
Water was literally everywhere in the lobby area pouring through the ceiling “like you were in a shower,” said staff. The bathroom and office area above the lobby was flooded with 1/2 inch of standing water. Water was cascading down the stairway like a waterfall at first. Staff was shocked at the extent of the damage.
Albion Department of Public Safety arrived as fire alarms were activated. This was happening because water was using any opening to flow, including light fixtures, fire extinguisher system. ADPS officers worked with Bohm staff to isolate the problem and the decision to turn off the water to Bohm 1 was made and they accomplished that. They also offered equipment to the Bohm to try and clean up the situation and make it less devastating.
Bohm staff contacted an emergency clean up service who came to mitigate the situation.
Residents driving by the Bohm saw several vehicles on scene as around a dozen workers worked to make the damage less destructive. ACT II representatives as well as Bohm representatives were on scene very early. It was obvious to Tom McClure President of ACT II Community Theatre and John Face the Secretary a decision needed to be made quickly.
Both discussed with Bob Veramay General Manager of the Theatre that the Bohm would be closed for the remainder of the day and most likely for an extended time. McClure and Face discussed many options but ultimately decided the third and final show Sunday must be canceled, and their show came to an end.
McClure when asked for a comment sent this to City Watch: “On one hand it’s a loss,” he said. “Not just financially, but more importantly, a loss for our actors who lost that last chance to deliver a tremendous show to an audience. Our directors, crew, and orchestra lost that opportunity as well.” “However,” added McClure “this cast, and crew were incredible, and nothing can take that away. This group has helped to define us and put the “live” back in live theatre here in Albion. We are very proud of all of them.”
Social media sprang to life as word of the situation at the communities beloved Bohm became public along with the cancellation of the show. Words of encouragement to ACT II and the Bohm, came from those who had attended the performances Friday and Saturday as well as the public’s concern for the Bohm. City Watch reached out to Shane Williamson, the Executive Director of the Albion Community Foundation and Executive Director of the Bohm sent us this statement:
“The Bohm Theatre suffered a severe blow to its infrastructure overnight when a plumbing malfunction happened causing extreme flooding from the second floor down to the basement of the main historic Bohm Theatre. As you can imagine the staff and board are devastated that Albion’s arts and culture crown jewel is experiencing this situation.
We are fortunate to have insurance and a strong team of staff that helped mitigate damage. Cat Rec also was fast in responding to calls for help and have started the drying process. Over the next several days we will learn the extent of the damage and will be communicating openly about the path forward and when normal operations will continue. Bohm II now is serving as our movie screening theatre. Our thoughts are truly with Act II Community Theatre as this incident disrupted their third show of their inaugural show at the Bohm.
This is Devastating for their organization as they see large lost revenues from not being able to perform their third show. If you are wondering how you can help, please consider making a donation to both the Bohm Theatre and ACT II Community Theatre to support these organizations that have had some of the hardest times during the pandemic and in a shifting entertainment landscape post-Covid. And when things get taken care of; buy a membership, buy a ticket, support local arts right here in downtown Albion.”
Williamson also added “The Albion community foundation has been care taking the Bohm Theatre since the start of the pandemic and has been shepherding the Bohm through the new post-Covid 19 environment. “
Cliff Harris the President of the Bohm added “There was a plumbing leak, there is some damage, but we’ll be back and at this point I don’t think it will be that long. We have experts on the way. As for time until we reopen? The experts haven’t made any evaluations yet.”