I’ve Looked at (Theater) Life from Both Sides Now
by Stan Graner with useful introductory remarks by Kat Edwards
Theatre Three, like many arts organizations, is a nonprofit. What is a nonprofit, you ask? A nonprofit is a tax-exempt organization under IRS code 501(c)(3) and described as a “public charity” because nonprofits don’t prioritize profit over purpose, are community driven, and are formed for the benefit of the public.
There are plenty of misconceptions about these types of organizations. One, is that nonprofit means “makes no money” and that is simply not true. Nonprofit, for-profit, or whatever doesn’t matter. Everybody earns revenue. But for a nonprofit, that revenue is put towards the organization’s ultimate goals. The other thing that I hear a lot is that everyone who works at a nonprofit is a volunteer. Once again, not true, but working towards a goal that benefits the public requires a lot of public support. So, yes, volunteers, but also donors, city and government funding, full time staff, part time staff, and patrons. The betterment of a community is something that takes a village.
For a long time now, we’ve wanted to put a spotlight on a donor or board member in this blog, and then in walked Stan Graner, portraying the Doctor in Foxfire, for his first rehearsal. This man does it all. When I asked him to write on this, I’m pretty sure I told him that he’s one of the biggest supporters of/contributors to the Dallas arts community that I know. He serves on boards, he donates, he goes to shows, AND, if you needed a cherry on top of this super sweet sundae, he IS an artist.
In Foxfire, the new production at Theatre Three running March 14 through April 7, I play a doctor who is considered an outsider in the Appalachian community he serves, someone “not from these parts.” In real life I’m an unusual hybrid in the theater world. Usually you have the board member/donor types, and then you have the artist/creative types. They may mingle from time to time, but they don’t really share the same DNA. I however gladly serve in both camps, hopefully bringing the two worlds a little closer together. Perhaps a little bit of an outsider on both sides?
I’ve been a professional actor for over thirty years, and strongly identify with that side of the fence. I’ve also been a theater donor for almost that long (thanks, Dad, for doing so well in the business world and passing money on to your kids!) and have served on two theater boards – six years at WaterTower Theatre (including time on their executive committee) ending last year, and now at The Classics Theatre Project (TCTP).
I firmly adhere to the idea of paying back, and that hugely influences my choice to donate to the arts and to serve on theater boards. As so many actors say, the theater is my “church” — it’s where I feel most alive, it’s where my tribe is, and I’ve been given much opportunity there. Whether onstage or in the audience, the theater fuels me and lifts me, and its people are my people. So, of course I want to do whatever I can to keep the theater arts alive and thriving.
I have such fond memories of Jac Alder. He was a theater “papa” to so many of us, and hugely inspirational to me personally. His deep love and respect for theater, his breadth of knowledge and willingness to share his expertise, and his genuine excitement for the art form that never seemed to dim through his decades-long career are major touchstones for me. Seeing his legacy in the form of Theatre Three moving forward under new leadership is tremendously satisfying. My support of Theatre Three will be unwavering, both as an artist AND as a donor.
Returning to the question I posed in the first paragraph: Perhaps a little bit of an outsider on both sides? My answer: Nah! Thrilled to be in both camps!
Book and Lyrics by Susan Cooper and Hume Cronyn • Music by Jonathan Holtzman • Directed by Emily Scott Banks
Run Dates: March 14 – April 7, 2019