An excerpt from a speech at a luncheon honoring FST's ushers and volunteers...
Picking up after asking everyone to raise their hands for the various shows they had seen that FST had produced that season...
But seriously… all of those raised hands. Each of those hands represented a very real donation of time, energy, and attention. Every single raised hand reflected a commitment, a gift, a generosity that you all infused not only into the audience… but into the art on our various stages.
All those hands. So many of you give so much of yourselves that you forced us to find new ways to recognize you. Like this year with the new Diamond Club. A dozen of you eclipsed the 100 hour mark. That is sincerely flabbergasting. Your generosity has literally changed how we can effectively measure your generosity.
All those hands. Hands that are integral to the art. Not just because you put them in the air, but because you use those hands to take and scan tickets. To distribute playbills. To move walkers and wheelchairs. To shake other hands in greeting. To point the way. To help the patron rise. To collect those same playbills, and to wave a fond farewell. Those hands give so much, and it is this giving that transforms you from mere volunteers into co-conspirators with the entire artistic team at FST.
Playwrights give the play away to the director. Directors give the play away to the actors. Actors give the play away to the audience. Theatre by its very nature is an exercise in releasing ego, in giving away what is most precious and meaningful. And you all give away one of your most precious and meaningful resources… your TIME. And you do it with such grace and kindness and joy… you truly give not just your time but pieces of your SELVES. You prepare the audience to receive the gifts we are trying to give. You are not outside the art. You are part of the art. You are not ancillary to the audience’s experience. You are part of their experience. And I’ve seen you all in action enough to know… that our art is better for who you are and how you treat our patrons.
You and your hands… are vital to FST.
From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the entire FST family, of which I hope you know you are a beloved part, I say… THANK YOU.
Theatre pro, amateur yogi, and competent home cook.