The time: Monday evening, June 19
The place: Four County Players theater, Barboursville, Virginia.
The occasion: Annual Meeting of the Four County Players membership
While annual meetings of small organizations are generally understood to be necessary business events that no one really enjoys, the 4CP meeting this year felt different. First of all, the board had changed the schedule, modifying the recent practice of having the Annual Meeting on the same evening as the Volunteer Party. Would anybody come out on a random Monday night? Secondly, I was completing my first full year as president of the board, and was anxious that my second opportunity to run the Annual Meeting would go smoothly. Fortunately, with the stellar volunteers of 4CP supporting me, I had nothing to worry about…the appointed meeting time neared, people showed up, Row checked them in, and we had a meeting! Below are some highlights from my State of the Theater report from that night:
Any discussion of the business side of Four County Players has to start with our incredible Board of Directors. We call ourselves a “working board,” and that is an apt term for this group that produces shows, stocks the bistro, provides lunch for workdays, hosts opening-night parties, takes out the trash, and does countless other tasks that keep this theater running. I am honored to work alongside this group, especially our Executive Committee: Tres Wells (VP of the Arts), Wendy Novicoff (Treasurer), and Linda Hogan (Secretary).
We have just wrapped up a stellar 44th season at 4CP, selling 5,270 tickets to our four Mainstage shows and three Cellar productions. The season started with the magical journey of Once on this Island. We were able to stage the first Charlottesville production of a play by local playwright Robert Wray, Bullet for Unaccompanied Heart, in the Cellar. The Mainstage was sold out for the runs of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Chicago. We had a Valentine’s Day treat in the Cellar with Love Letters, featuring special appearances by Kenneth Waller and Linda Poser. The spring season brought us Dancing with Myself in the Cellar, as part of our Teen Arts Project, and Blithe Spirit on the Mainstage. Through comedy, music, and drama, we brought the community together for a wide range of theatrical experiences.
The season was made possible by the work of over 250 volunteers, contributing countless hours. Every actor on stage is supported by dozens off the stage: production crews, ushers, bistro volunteers, workday volunteers, and photographers. The life of the theater is also sustained by our membership, currently numbering 196, whose support is vital to the financial health of the theater. And of course we couldn’t keep the lights on without Row Halpin, managing the box office and general theater operations as our sole paid employee.
This year has seen great forward momentum on our Build a Backstage Campaign. The Backstage Committee has worked with architect Kerry Moran to draw up plans for our dream addition to the rear of the building. The fundraising committee has been busy, and we have now logged over 250 individual donors to the campaign. Most impressively, we are within $2,200 of reaching the target amount of $90,000 for our matching funds from the Perry Foundation. In addition, we have established a relationship with the Building Goodness Foundation to assist with the building plans and contacts in the construction industry. We hope to break ground in summer 2018.
Other special projects completed around the theater in the last year include full painting of the building exterior; completion of the Cellar Bistro and cast bathroom project (Carl Schwaner, Sheridan Parkinson); and construction of a wood crib on the back deck for better storage of set building supplies (Sid Wood).
Finally, I’d like to recognize two individuals who are rotating off the board at this time:
Sheridan Parkinson has been our Youth Representative on the board for the last year, and we have enjoyed his ever-present cheerfulness and hard work. We were honored to host Sheridan’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony in April, and we wish Sheridan well as he continues his college career at PVCC and beyond.
Geri Sauls is leaving the board after eight years of service. During that time, she has held many positions: Vice President of the Arts; chair of the Education, House, Volunteer, and Nominating committees; and member of the Programming Committee. In addition, Geri directed the summer camp program for many years, mentored young people through the Teen Arts Project, and established our ever-popular Annual Volunteer Party and Season Review. Geri will continue to direct, choreograph, and appear on the 4CP stage, but we will miss her steady contributions on the Board.
It’s been an amazing year at Four County Players, and we are looking forward to a spectacular season 45! See you at The Addams Family Musical, opening July 28th!