Our Board on Summer 2014

As we near the close of this Summer, our Endstation Board president Laren Baum and I asked two of our board members to reflect on what Endstation has meant to them both this Summer and in previous years.

Rachel Gagen (left) at Sonnets & Chocolates 2014

I moved to Lynchburg for the schools and the parks, for my job, but without any hope that a small town like this could support quality theatre. I figured I would have to drive to Richmond or DC to get my cultural fix. What a delight to be so wrong!! I fell in love with Endstation at first iambic pentameter. Over multiple seasons, I can confidently say that they have produced the most unique and enthusiastic Shakespeare I’ve ever seen anywhere (New Haven, NYC, London). Each show is endowed with homespun music, costumes, and detail that captivate the audience. Beyond the Bard, Endstation entrances both your ears and eyes with musicals like Big River and original works. This company not only has a treasure trove of creativity and wit in its participants, but it is dedicated to being a truly local theatre. Endstation makes Lynchburg come to life with amazing outdoor performances that cannot be duplicated. Each season has outdone the last. It’s what’s happening in Lynchburg every summer.  No travel needed!

This year Endstation surpassed even my high expectations. The original piece Two Gents was so good – I saw it multiple times! The way they stirred history and culture and drama and comedy and music and location into a giant pot and then presented a delicious and unique show. I fell in love all over again! Our Town was a show that I saw long ago and loved. It’s hard to outdo a memory like that, but the performance in Old City Cemetery was literally breathtaking. I was moved by the honesty and the artistry. I wept and felt joy for the chance to weep. I treasure the way that, in both these shows, Endstation brings Lynchburg to life. This is what is truly unique – that no professional company in a theatre outside of our wonderful town could ever create. Even years after the show is over, it will inhabit and color the space. Each time I visit Poplar Forest, I hear the spirits of shows before. And the audience participation is the extra shine on the shoe. Each performance is truly unique and palpable to the audience. We are so blessed to have this company here, opening our eyes and hearts to our own community, joys and sorrows.

Jason Witt (left) at the Endstation Croquet Tournament 2014

I am so proud to be part of this organization. While new to the board, I am not new to Endstation as I have been both a personal fan and a community volunteer. After attending a performance last year, I was taken back by the level and quality of theatrical talent that was present here in our community. I knew I wanted to get involved with the organization so I approached the theatre and started volunteering. It is because of this that I am now serving as a member of the Endstation Board. It is an honor to be working with this amazing group.

My first season as a board member has been an incredible one. I personally believe that giving back to your community in some way is vital to your community’s livelihood. And to partner that “giving back” with an organization such as Endstation has allowed me to witness first-hand the value Endstation brings to our community. Aside from having a small part in bringing first rate theatre to Central Virginia, I have been able to witness many of its benefits; whether it has been witnessing a patron connecting with a particular show or receiving a thank-you message from someone that explains how much enjoyment they received from attending a show. For me, theatre provides an escape, it provides different perspectives, it provides motivation and it provides joy. Theatre educates us about those who have come and gone. It keeps their memory alive and it allows their great lessons on life to continue. For all these reasons, and many more,  serving on the Endstation board is an experience I will always value.

We hope that attending an Endstation show can be like visiting with family. This is our community, and we are proud to see how the Endstation family grows exponentially every year. Your community. Your story. Your theatre company.

Aaron C. Thomas has been the Resident Dramaturg at Endstation Theatre since 2010. He is also a contributing scholar for the Brooklyn-based American Laboratory and will be working in the Department of Theater at Dartmouth College. You can connect with him via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or his blog Tea to Pour.

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