Now that summer theater in Austin Gardens is over, a thought about Festival Theatre in Oak Park occurs to me. I have noticed, in the many years I have walked in Austin Gardens Park, there is a large area where the plays take place that is unused for much more than dog walking.

Very little organized activity and use by individuals takes place before and after the theater season.

Every year theater performers are faced with the necessity to build improvised stages for plays. It takes time, money for materials, and effort which should be better spent for rehearsal and play preparation. After the season, performers must take down the improvised stage, which also needs time and work.

Since culture is important to Oak Park and to the world, plays in Oak Park each summer for many years have made life in Oak Park more interesting.

I would like to suggest a permanent theater building be constructed in the large open space in the park for what it is currently used, including relaxation, walking, children’s play, nature viewing and, of course, dog walking.

It would be a suitable memorial for Mr. Austin for whom the park is named, but also in memory of a person like Morris Buske, teacher for many years at Oak Park High School and considered founder of Oak Park’s Hemingway Society.

Most of all, it would enhance the cultural life of Oak Park and River Forest.

William Becic
Oak Park

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