So, as many of you may know, our host veneu, the Venetian Theatre, is an amazing historic building in the heart of downtown Hillsboro. Denzil Scheller, the owner and mega-property developer, spent tireless months ensuring that the building would be refurbished to an incredibly high standard. And it is a beautiful space, an ideal location and an amazing place to do live theatre. There was one small problem…the building opened without the dressing rooms (located beneath the stage, in the former orchestra pit) being finished.
It is understandable. When you are pouring millions of dollars into a major renovation of an historic building, sometimes the “back stage” areas have to be left incomplete. As someone who has been involved in major refurbishment projects (The Arches in Glasgow, for example; wwwwthearches.co.uk), I understand how, when push comes to shove and dollars (or pounds sterling, for that matter) are running low, some parts of the project need to be given a quick dusting and left as good to go. Such was the state of the dressing rooms at The Venetian. Functional, in that they, you know, had lights, a ceiling and a floor, but otherwise completely bare. Bare concrete floors, no furniture, and no creature comforts of any kind. The ladies of Steel Magnolias can attest to just how “nice” the dressing rooms were! Concrete dust on the costumes, cold concrete on their feet, and nothing but a couple of folding chairs to sit on.
Through the enormous dedication and hard work of two of our board members, Dave and Shirley Woodford (and their son Chris), the Venetian dressing rooms have been completely refurbished to a very, very high standard. Dave Woodford, a former teacher and construction worker, pulled out every single favor he was ever owed by his suppliers to get donations of flooring, carpet, electronics (including microwaves and a refrigerator), stools, sofas, chairs, decorative rugs, and full length dressing room mirrors. I can’t honestly say the value of all of these donations, but I would put it at well over $3,500. All for free, and all through the goodwill and hard work of two board members.
These inkind donations not only help raise awareness of our company among local businesses, but they have truly helped improve the overall quality, feel and professionalism of our growing and ambitious company. We have all worked in less than ideal venues, those of us in theatre, but there is something truly amazing about what happens when the venue feels high quality and professional. It makes the actors feel appreciated and valued, that their work and talent is important, and that the long hours and horrible direction they sometimes receive is…well, that is not only worth it, but worthwhile.
A small company like ours, with big dreams and hopes, cannot succeed without the support and dedication of board members and volunteers like Dave and Shirley Woodford. You two are amazing, and you have helped far more than you can imagine.
If you are interested in making a difference for Bag&Baggage, get in touch. Let’s change the world! One show at a time. Email us at email@example.com to learn more.
See you at The Eight: Reindeer Monologues!