The early response to Wayside Theatre's campaign has been really intense and really amazing. We've been going for three days and have seen donations and pledges of $15,000 already. That's wonderful news. What is equally as wonderful is the comments, testimonials, and stories about Wayside Theatre that people are sharing with us on Facebook, via email, and any other method of communication.
If you read this blog and attend Wayside Theatre, or have worked here, or have had a child in our Education programs tell us your story, your favorite memory, or even your gripe about Wayside Theatre. Those of us who work here have no problem talking about why we think our mission is important. But, what makes that effort easier and also makes it resonate so much further is if you tell us in your words your thoughts. We're sharing them on Facebook, and soon will be on our website.
Magic happens because you believe. Share why you believe and with your permission we'll share that with the world.
Here are a few thoughts that have already come in.
Tara Becht Shostek
I can't even begin to tell you how much Wayside Theatre has helped my daughter, Jessica, to blossom from being quiet and shy into a confident and self-assured 8 year old. Because of Wayside Theatre, she has an amazing ability to speak with confidence in front of her 25 classmates or in front of a theatre filled with 200 people. Wayside Theatre is an amazing place that has taught my child poise, self-confidence, discipline and how to work with adults in a professional setting. The opportunity to perform at Wayside Theatre, and the myriad of lessons she has learned from the professionals there, are gifts she will take with her for the rest of her life. She will always be a "Thtar!" Please help to keep this amazing place alive.
Cheryl Lemire Nakagawa
Why would the closing of Wayside Theatre be a huge loss? For me, it's personal. My daughter, Audrey, fell in love with Wayside at the age of nine with her first summer camp. From then on, we have considered Wayside a second home for our family. Now 12 years-old, Audrey has had many, many amazing experiences through this wonderful theater and the amazing people who run it. She has attended several workshops, where her acting and singing skills were honed. She was the Ghost of Christmas Past in "A Christmas Carol", and then was honored to play Glory Bea for two years, a story so well written worthy of broader attention. She has learned the value and beauty of live theater, where every movement and sound is scrutinized by attentive audience members. Who taught her this? An AMAZING staff! The tone begins from the top, from Artistic Director Warner Crocker, whose patience and skill are astounding to observe. And Thomasin Savaiano, who also has a amazing way with children herself, passing on her acting and singing knowledge almost selflessly. There isn't enough space to name everyone important to us and to Wayside, but I can tell you, EVERYONE who works there -- box office, awesome Musical Director Steve Przybylski, actors, interns, directors, board members -- everyone loves that theater and will work countless hours to support it.
I pray that this isn't the end of Wayside's history or Audrey's Wayside experience. The skills she has learned will be valuable throughout her life, no matter what she does. My hope is that this wonderful gem stays afloat for years to come, so that children and families can put down their ipods, cell phones, computers, and video games, for at least a little while, to experience entertainment the ways it has been done for centuries -- through PEOPLE.
Diane Artz Furlong
Everyone living in the Wayside Theatre community should realize what a very special gift we have here. A small hometown theatre where one can go for a bit of escapism fare is something to be nurtured, treasured, and protected.
The plays at Wayside were my introduction to live theatre. Living in the mostly rural area of the northern Shenandoah Valley, there was seldom an opportunity to see a play performed by professional actors. When we were teenagers back in the 1960s, my sister and I would attend Wayside's matinee productions during our summer vacations from school. We would "dress up" and she, the one with the driver's license, would drive us in Daddy's car to Middletown for an afternoon of delightful entertainment. I still remember leaving the hot summer sun behind as we entered the tiny, darkened theatre to find our seats and read our playbills, quietly anticipating the curtains opening and the enchanting world of real actors on a stage to appear before us. I know we saw many actors and actresses who went on to become famous but we were most delighted when Linde Hayen and Harold Herman performed.
I have enjoyed productions at Wayside for the past 45 years. I guess having a live theatre nearby where I can see the same quality acting as I can see in a theatre on Broadway has become a given for me. I thought Wayside would always be here, ready and waiting when I wanted to attend. I can't imagine not being able to do so.
I hope there are many who feel the same way. I hope there are many who can help Wayside now when it so greatly needs our support.
Keep them coming folks!