Our school matinee performances of Cinderella have wrapped for the 2010-2011 Season, and the last bus has pulled away from the front of the theatre. It has been a great year, with hundreds of sweet and excited kids laughing and clapping and dancing. I know I've been promising pictures for a while, but I have once again misplaced my camera, so I will get those pics up as soon as I find it!
About half-way through the scheduled shows, a generous supporter or ETC called and offered to sponsor an added performance to help us bring even more children to see the show, since all of our houses were scheduled to be full already, and we were still fielding requests. Through this person's generosity, we were able to afford to pay our actors and crew overtime (per our contracts) and add a show for St. Aloysius Orphanage and Riverside Academy to join us for a morning us magic.
And it has been magical! One of the great joys for me this season has been watching the members of the ETC Entourage, our volunteer organization, as they helped pass out treats and guard the stage. For most of them, this was their first experience with FGM, and I heard over and over from them as they left, "This was great!" Several of our volunteers brought snacks for the kids, and rarely did a day go by when a delivery of juice boxes and fruit snacks wasn't delivered. On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of speaking at the holiday party for Ad Club Cincinnati, who had decided to donate the proceeds from their annual raffle to ETC to support FGM. In these actions, great and small, over 1600 students and teachers benefitted from the FGM program this year. Congratulations to all of you, our patrons and donors, for making this happen!
So what are some highlights?
Some of the children who came through our FGM program walked through the rain to come to the show, many without proper rain gear. After the show, we cut holes in trash bags and created tiny ponchos for the kids to keep them dry on their way back to school.
Several schools have sent letters written to the cast and crew – including our scenic and lighting designer! Wonder how many little artists are now thinking about a career in theatrical design?
Our coloring page asked this question: What is your wish? One little girl wished for one more day with her dearly departed dog and sent us a photograph of the two of them and a darling pile of puppies. Another child wrote a heart-wrenching letter about the death of his aunt.
A trend that surprised me in this season of Holiday Wish-Lists was that nearly all the children asked for things that would benefit others. They wished to be doctors, police officers, and teachers so that they could cure, protect, and teach. It put me in mind of the words of Gwendolyn the Well Wisher in Cinderella:
"Magic is fun – for a short while. But magic won't change you, and it won't change the world, Cinderella. Only you can do that."
I can't wait to see how these kids change the world. See you next year, FGM!