Our annual Feed Your Soul event is a celebration of Available Light’s mission to deliver our brand of incredible theatre to everyone who wants it. We raise funds to support Pay What You Want, one of the most crucial components of our success, and give more than a few shout-outs to some of our favorite people.
This year, we wanted to finally make that recognition official, and honor just a few of the many people who regularly go far above and beyond the call of duty to help us achieve our goals.
The award (The 2011 Weber Award for Extraordinary Efforts on Behalf of Available Light) is named after the Weber family. Led by Ron & Melissa Weber and flanked by a bevy of incredible offspring, the Weber clan has time and again demonstrated the truth of Margaret Mead’s famous quotation, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Without the Webers, there’s utterly no chance that Available Light would now be celebrating five years of great theatre and passionate service to the community. We owe them everything.
Thus we’ve named this award to recognize the Weber family’s commitment to our cause, and to honor those who have given their time, their talent, and, indeed, their treasure to fortify our endeavors and feed our spirits.
JIM COE is one of Available Light’s biggest fans. We know that because he’s told us so, on several occasions. He’s also our favorite kind of fan. He comes to almost every show, and always brings friends. He sticks around for the talkbacks, and really talks back, honest and unafraid. He shares his passionate and emotional responses with us, and he’s open and straightforward about what leaves him cold. He’s a friend, not just to our company, but to us, as fellow human beings, and he asks little in return for his kindness. Jim gives monetarily, yes, and more importantly he’s connected us with with wonderful partners with simpatico beliefs, like Simply Living and WCBE. And if you thank him for his efforts on our behalf, or on behalf of the many local organizations he serves, Jim is known to utter the most wonderful words, “Don’t thank me. I have to help. It’s my community.”
EMILY RHODES has had more job titles with Available Light than anyone who every has or ever will volunteer or work for us. Box Office Manager, Board Member, Development Director, Patron Services, Membership Concierge, and several really extravagant names we made up that were very long and usually included one of the following words: queen; ninja; or mistress. She is one of the few and brave who have been with us since the very, very beginning of the BlueForms Theatre Group and we knew even before that in the glory days of the Red Herring Theatre company. We must be very lucky, for it seems that our untamed organizational spirit matches well with her fiery entrepreneurial ambitions, and that our inquisitive nature is bested only by her tireless, analytical mind. There are not words enough to list her contributions of labor, lucre, and love, so let’s just say this: her influence on our company’s mission and culture has been essential, is beloved, and always will be indelible.
DIANE WARREN is the owner of Katzinger’s Delicatessen and she is, as Artie Isaac would say, the Matt Slaybaugh of sandwiches. Her passionate belief in the power and importance of good food is moving to behold and even more inspiring to taste. Certainly we all remember the superlative Toast Bars she hosted before and after our shows in the Riffe Center. Diane and her crew would show up with breads and spreads to share with our patrons, and she sent any left-overs home with our starving artists. Sometimes Katzinger’s even opened their German Village doors for us, after hours, to dazzle our cast and crew with their amazing catering. And of course, along the way, Diane has always welcomed us into the shop with open arms, feeding our stomachs, and even employing one of our young company members while he pursued compensation from his muse. Jordan still wears his Katzinger’s t-shirts with pride. Most importantly, though, Diane put her faith in us. Her support bolstered our vigor, and she had our backs long before most of Columbus had even heard our name. It’s for that faith that we honor her efforts.
Wherever and whenever you are, please rise to your feet right now, and applaud these kindred spirits.
Then, go get your tickets to Feed Your Soul ’11, so you can honor these award-winners in person. August 27, we’ll see you there.