Midwest Renaissance Actors Guild


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Forum Home > General Discussion > I am leaving the Guild

John Peters
Posts: 13

After a lot of thought and anguish, I am leaving the Guild. There have been too many promises that have come through and that changes my outlook for the group and the faire. I wish you all the best luck and hope that we remain friends.

John Peters (aka Peers)

March 6, 2010 at 9:12 AM Flag Quote & Reply

John Mills
Posts: 8

OK it's time to clarify things.  I have been on the job about 40 days now.  In that time we have made great progress, but clearly not enough.  About every 10 minutes I hear about a promise that was made that I had no idea about.  I am not a mind reader.  I am just a director/producer hired to do a job.  I happen to be very good at what I do but curing the ills of past shows is not one of them.  I made it clear to the folks that hired me that if I was hired I would have to do it my way and that I would not be saddled with bad karma from the past.  There is a reason this show failed and I'm finding more reasons every day.  One big reason is unprofessional choices.  It is my job to correct these and lead forward. 


One big mistake is giving away massive amounts of free tickets.  This diminishes the value of the artistic creation.   We are not Walmart.  We create dreams and stir emotions.  We are artists.  There is no reason we should settle for less.  We are not second class citizens that peddle our wares at any price.  Yes we have fun.  Yes we love what we do.  But we also have a passion and a mission.  That mission is to create art and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  It is only through this collaboration that we can make a difference.  That is what we do.  We make a difference.  We transport our patrons back in time to a more pleasant and theatrically heightened historical period.  We do this with love, humor, music, dance and theater.  We live in difficult times.  It is not our mission to remind our audience that their mortgage is due or that they are about to be unemployed.  Our mission is to help them forget, if just for a day, that their world is hard and unforgiving.  We do this through entertaining theatrical re-creation.  If we respect them, then we must respect ourselves.  We are not amateurs.  Our show is worth twice the ticket price.  We have spent years getting to this point and I see no reason to give our art away.  Our policy is to give guild members 10 tickets each.  Paid guild members will get the standard 4 comps each, like all the other professional participants.


I did not tell John that the guild could not do the archery.  I said he could not have an exclusive. I offered the guild a food booth if he didn't want to compete.  But the kind of food had to be something our food and beverage manager wouldn't do.  Why would we give away turkey legs or scotch eggs?  Foods like these are our profit.  They insure we stay alive to fight another day.  The artistic  and business direction  I took was to get more rides and games at the show.  As one of the best in the business, Michael Colley, is joining us with many attractive games and rides.  He is doing so at great financial risk.  We need these colorful attractions to change the look of the show.  You've seen his rides and games at Bristol, KRF, AZ and many other places.  He is an artist.  We need him and his professional crew.  You will see the difference it makes on opening day.


We are not a christian revival show.  Religions are personal choices and have no baring on my casting or direction of the show.  We are artists and free to live our lives through our own passions and values.  I don't care if you're a conservative, liberal, christian or atheist.  As long as you show up, do your job and don't worry the sheep, I'm OK with it.  The once previously called "the Chapel Stage" is now called the Queen Stage.  You will see my take on religion when you see Hey Nunnie Nunnie in May.


I admit my participation in the guild has been lacking.  I simple have not had the time.  I'm trying to mount  huge productions with limited budgets and even more limited time.  My passion is talent and it saddens me that I can't pay as much attention as I would like.  But I'm also the GM and have many other duties.  These include marketing, sponsorship, box office, operations, advertising, community relations, permits, food and beverage and on and on and on.  I'm living out of hotels and driving 5 hours each way every week.  I'm looking at houses and apartments all the time and will move to Chipp within a couple of weeks.  And like any other theartical venture you take 3 steps forward and 1 step backward.  It has been  challenging.  But it is all coming together.  And I promise you will all be proud to be a part of it.  We all have to look at this as a new show.  Yes there was a past, but it failed.  I am dedicated to changing the game through sophistication, professionalism and attitude.  This is not an ego thing for me.  It is a passion that happens to be a job.  Archetypes for guilds began in the 60's with Queen Paterson in CA.  The main stay in those days were the SCA.  Re-enactors spent all year honing their roles, costumes and history.  They provided needed authenticity to Ren Faires.  They stopped the progress towards a carnival atmosphere.  It worked and sustained an industry.  Look at what Ron Fry did at Bristol.  It is a stunning example of hundreds of guild members making a huge difference.  I am hoping that this can happen here. 


Can this happen here?  What are the motives?  You can have fun and play and contribute to the show.  You can act out your passions, help create a believable fantacy and still make a difference in people lives.  If that's the case I am here for you.  I will give you whatever we can afford to make it work.  But let's be clear, I am not an owner.  I have a board to answer to and a responsibily to shareholders and the audience.  I do not take this lightly.  From what I've heard, your guild was the backbone of the previous shows.  This can still be the case as long as it's done in the spirit of community and shared goals.  My goal is to produce a show that makes a difference in peoples lives and thereby sustaining a successful longevity. 


 Realistically I will probably not meet you till the first weekend in April - when I am finally settled in Chippewa.   We can make great progress.  I don't have the budget to hire seasoned Entertainment Directors and Production Managers.  We are doing the best we can with what we have.  I am available by phone or forums like this until we meet in person.  I've acted professionally in radio, television, film and theater.  I've directed theater, industrial shows and hundreds of festivals and have produced the same.  If you can hold out a little longer I will help - if needed.  My standards are high, but attainable. 


So...Let's go forward. If John doesn't want to do this, pick another captain.  I wish John would re-think his decision but it's his decision.  After our meeting the other day he struck me as a serious, intelligent and professional gentleman with obvious leadership skills. There must be someone else in the guild with these skills.   Let's work things out and create a village that works and is not forclosed on. 


Producing is putting together a new small business every time: assessing needs and resources, pulling all the right tools, plans and people together, and executing wisely and tirelessly. I’d enjoy talking with you about these needs and how we can lead forward together.


Thank you - John












March 6, 2010 at 1:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 8

We have meetings scheduled for tomorrow 2-5pm at Crossroads. After that its the 21st and then April 11th. Both at Crossroads. If you can attend any of these, that would be great. The guild is willing to go forward here, but we also need know what is expected. I, and Bekah Wietz are also on the "board" for the Guild. If you need to get a hold of me you can do so through either here, facebook or give me a call at 715-519-0152,


--the character of a man can be judged best by how close he comes to hurting Bear. ---Bear

March 6, 2010 at 4:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Kensmuir, Shepherd's Croft
Posts: 1

I'm terribly sorry to hear John Peters is leaving.  I very much hope he reconsiders.

This faire is getting off to a very late start - for a variety of reasons - but that doesn't mean it isn't doable - it will require every one of us to present the best we can, be willing to work together and with the owners/managers, and try to creat a dream for the patrons.

While I'm sure that things are very different from what they were, that doesn't mean they have to be "bad"...I've spoken several times with John Mills and I do believe he will help Kevin and Shannon and the other investors to develop a quality Faire.  Mary and I very much want to participate - and I hope John Peters will decide to be part of it - his professionalism and committment will be invaluable.

I've also been out to the grounds and seen Kevin already working hard to improve the food area and make a sanitary and comfortable place for workers and patrons.  To make a better Faire.

I am very sorry that Mary and I - the Shepherd's of Kensmuir Croft - will not be able to be there tomorrow - it is the final presentaion of the River Falls Community Theater's Fiddler on the Roof and that was an earlier commitment for us both.  But we should be able to attend any other meeting going on in the future.

Actors - artists - performers - have egos - and I hope we can come together with a group goal that will offer wonderful things to our audiences.

Please keep in mind that our Croft has a great deal of space and could be a perfect place for a "gathering of the guild" during the Faire - if you wish.

Up the Faire!


Bill Gary and Mary Sullivan

William Buchanan and Maire O'Sullibhean

Shepherds of Kensmuir Croft

March 6, 2010 at 8:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

John Mills
Posts: 8

I will be there  on the 21st.and April 11th.  I'm sure we can get this up but Bill and Mary's comment about a group goal is important.  Does the Guild have a mission statement?  I'm still a little confused.  Are you a company of players that want to audition as a company?  Are you mainly re-enactors who happen to perform?  Is your goal to be hired and go onto other faires.  Or do you simply want to have fun, make some friends and entertain large groups of people?  I'm OK with any of the above.  Just tell me.  How many more times are you meeting? 

Are you planning to rehearse at the faire?  We're buying an 80 long pole tent to be used as a VIP hospitality tent for the Ren faire and Miss Kitty's Salon for the Wild West and a fun house for the Fright Fest .  it could be a good rain spot for on-site rehearsing. 


Up the Faire!

March 6, 2010 at 9:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mary Bearsdottir
Posts: 24

To be honest, guys, this isn't the place to discuss this. We've had a lot of miscommunication between the guild and the faire, and posts on a forum are just going to perpetuate that. Hopefully tomorrow we will clear the air on a lot of these issues -- I hope to see you there. I, for one, have a lot to say.

P.S. John Mills: John Peters isn't the only "captain" of the guild. It's a group lead by several people, myself included. Hopefully we can talk one of these days. If you want to get in touch, my email is **********, my phone number is (715) ***-****.


"Liberty is in her mouth, equality in her heart and fraternity in her garters."

March 6, 2010 at 11:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

John Peters
Posts: 13

Just so you all know and understand, My main reason for leaving is to reduce stress. I just don't need more stress at my age. I am very sorry if I have disappointed anyone, but I just have to move past this and enjoy my retirement.



March 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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