The Power of Perseverance: Theatre Legend Shares The Story Of His Success

Michael Barnard, producing artistic director for Phoenix Theater, owes his success to the power of perseverance in receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He states that the medal is given to those who, “demonstrate an aspiration for giving back to one’s community, for promoting cultural diversity, for acceptance of others, for adding to the cultural fabric of one’s community to really elevate the American spirit in a very positive way, and also a sense of patriotism.”

Michael talks about the significance of theater and how it has the ability to bring different demographics of people together. Michael states that, “the theater is a place of acceptance for everyone. It tells stories that I would never have known unless I have been a part of the theatrical experience.”

With all of the negativity and divisiveness in the world, Michael believes in focusing on the positive. Michael states that, “every time something (negative) is reported, I try to find and look for something that can be the opposite of that to inspire me to find an individual or a purpose or a story that’s out there that activates us and elevates us in a positive way.” He believes that eventually people are going to end the negativity and begin to view one another as equal and important. Michael’s perseverance of a positive mindset greatly contributes to his success.

Abraham Lincoln stands as an inspirational figure to Michael and helps him remember the importance of perseverance. Michael hangs a picture of President Lincoln in his office, which contains a bullet list of defeats Lincoln went through before becoming president of the United States. Following the bullet listing Lincoln becoming president, Michael states that, “PERSEVERANCE” is listed in large letters at the bottom of the picture. He explains how the picture portrays someone who kept fighting and refusing to take no for an answer.

The power of perseverance is something that Michael cherishes deeply, and he claims is the reason behind his success in his profession. Michael received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, through his belief in giving back and his ability to persevere.