My first blog post! How exciting!
So….. first off. I've never really blogged. (Thanks Maria). I'm sorry this post doesn't have superawesome photos attached to them, because I really don't know how to post them. Believe me. I tried. If someone wants to edit this to make it far more interesting, you have my permission.
I have been charged with offering a board members point of view into the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival and Endstation in general. Let’s start with the latter and end with the former.
My journey with Endstation started about 3 years ago (wow…). Tell-Tale was heading to Fringe, and I got a phone call from a close friend who asked if I might be interested in joining Endstation’s Board of Directors. I came to Rebec Vineyards to visit with Endstation and left a full fledged member of the Board, (there may have been wine involved) about a year later, I found myself President of the Board (there was definitely wine involved)! All because of a single phone call.
Over the past few years I’ve seen some great members come (our current President and Treasurer: Steve Martin and Lynn Fielding, Amherst County School Superintendent Brian Ratliff, and E.C. Glass Director Jim Ackley) and we’ve seen some great members go (local go-getter Lynn Kable, vintner and class-act Richard Hanson, local personality and one of the best people in the world (and coincidentally, my t-ball coach) Mike Gallagher). We’ve got the stalwart group that has been with us from the beginning (our artistic director and capitan, Geoff Kershner and his father, Sweet Briar Professor Bill Kershner, and my personal favorite human being, Krista Franco, scenic artist extraordinaire!)
I feel like I’ve been involved with theatre my entire life. From trodding the boards with my fellow local thespians, to now being involved in the structure of a theatrical company in an advisory position theatre has always been a part of my life. But as much as I love theatre, I love this area more. I’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit over the last decade of my professional life and I have yet to find a place I love as much as Amherst County and Central Virginia. For me (and I’m sure this goes for others on the board), Endstation provides a vital cultural service to this community. That’s what hooked me early on: that burning desire to provide high quality professional theatre in rural Virginia.
Every year, I’m amazed by the talent that descends upon our sleepy little community. And the impact is great. Farmers and small businessman have approached me to ask why we aren’t doing that “Hurricane Camille play” this year. The buzz from friends at church who ask, “Have you seen Alice yet?! It’s amazing!”, or even my own bricklayer father, who may not be the common theatregoer inquiring “What’s this about a Civil War Hamlet? Do they need any help?” To see the uncommon theatregoer being excited about what we do is a pleasure to behold.
Every year we meet new talented actors and actresses. And then there is the joy of seeing actors from previous year’s productions excited to return back to our home, and learning more about them. And then there is the joy of seeing these actors perform karaoke, and then having random people call me at my place of business to make sure they’ll be returning the following week, because they made their night. Endstation, in so many ways, is leaving a lasting impact on our community. And that's a good thing.
For me, Endstation is now a huge part of my summer. Whether it’s sitting in on the occasional rehearsal, discussing fundraising for this year’s productions, designing posters and printing flyers, or in my case right now, preparing food for a donor appreciation reception, Endstation has become an integral part of my life. And in my case, as I’m sure is the case for the rest of the board, it’s not a pleasure to work for Endstation. It’s an honor. It’s an honor to be part of a team of such amazingly talented professionals who not only bring theatre to a place, but bring a place, OUR place, to theatre. It's an honor to know Endstation and it's an honor, in my own small way, to be part of Endstation.
So that's my blog, as uninteresting as it may be. But hopefully you have a better understanding of us "gray hairs" who meet quarterly (and sometimes more often) to discuss the direction of the company and what we need to do to get a job done. Speaking of jobs to be done, I've gotta run, dessert skewers for tonight’s reception aren’t going to make themselves.
See you tonight at Hamlet
Board of Directors, Endstation Theatre