When did you start your Georgia Shakespeare experience?
Since the beginning! The tent days, before we even had a building to come into. I got involved with the Junior League, and later on the board, but it was so exciting, being outside in the tent, most of the time it was wet and muddy all over the grounds, but just so fun!
What was one of your favorite shows?
One of my favorite shows had to be Taming of the Shrew. And I have to say it was partly because it was so loud and bawdy! That was in the early days, but I remember loving how that show created such a sense of joy and relevance, and that it proved that Shakespeare’s works—no, the classic works—are still relevant today. And I’ve loved watching the organization grow to maturity through its shows, and the development of the core of associate artists that you see every year. You get to know them, they’re like friends! And not to mention Richard, of course.
What is one of your best memories at Georgia Shakespeare?
One of my favorite memories was when Megan, our daughter, was an intern for the company. At that point, I became involved not only as a patron inviting friends and a board chair, but as a parent. She was in the pre-show skit that the acting interns put on, we loved watching her! The whole family became a part of Georgia Shakespeare, and that was such a special time.
Another favorite was being a board chair. Working with Jane Turner, and the commitment of the volunteers—it was a joy, and so incredible to see that this organization is so important to all of us. I can’t say enough about the dedication of those volunteers. They made so much happen for this theater. And what a great group of people to work with!
One more memory, another favorite, was the first Shake at the Lake. We were out from the building, in the open air, just like it was meant to be there. But the first night of the first Shake at the Lake it rained! They couldn’t do the performance on stage, so the actors did a kind of staged reading during the first act and got back on stage for the second act when the rain stopped. I was board chair at the time and had a few friends with me, and I remember when we draped this big tarp over the audience to shield from the rain, and the actors did their reading under there. We took turns holding pieces of lumber and broom handles to prop up the tarp. We just sat there under that tarp and the actors kept performing. And everybody stayed!
What is Genuinely Georgia Shakespeare to you?
Georgia Shakespeare is so excellent at bringing alive a sense of relevance to the classics. When you can do that, you really are an asset to the community. I’m also a big proponent of our education programs, I think they’re so important, and I feel like being able to bring that joy and relevance of the classics and the arts to our students is so important. I love when Georgia Shakespeare has collaborated with other organizations in Atlanta, like the Atlanta Ballet, for educational programs.
My husband and I are both math and science people, but we have always felt the importance of the arts—it’s the concept of creativity linked to innovation. When you’re exposed to the arts and given the opportunity to interact with them, you’re able to express yourself better, and especially with drama when you’re expressing creativity through the whole body. The productions at GS show how these plays have messages and meaning as much for us today as they did when they were viewed in Shakespeare’s day.
I have such an affection, appreciation and respect for the work at Georgia Shakespeare. And there’s a consistency, you know when you come to Georgia Shakespeare, it’s going to be a great experience.