Donor Spotlight – Sheila & Alan Lamson
By A Noise Within
December 14, 2022
“This is home to us” – That is what Alan Lamson said to me when we started our conversation recently in the lobby of A NOISE WITHIN theatre. And it seemed true because, during my hour-long conversation with Sheila & Alan Lamson, we were interrupted several times by ANW’s Resident Artists who stopped to say hello and chat during their A Christmas Carol rehearsal break. This is a new feature for our newsletter spotlighting ANW donors, and what better way to start than with a husband & wife who have been attending ANW shows since 1993. Below is a condensed version of the conversation.
Jim Miller, ANW Director of Development – How did you first discover A Noise Within?
Alan – One of the teachers where I taught at Pasadena City College mentioned it. One of the classes I taught focused on drama, and as it turned out, most of my students had never seen live theatre, so taking them was outstanding.
Sheila – We always had front-row seats on the sides, which I thought were the best.
Alan – Right next to the platform where the actors ran by, and the students could practically reach out and touch them.
Sheila – Eventually, we started volunteering. When ANW moved from Glendale to Pasadena, it was much closer to us and it was so much easier to park, so we offered to help with the move. We started this ‘Hard Hat Sundays’ and brought people by to have them view the construction site, which was a hole in the ground. We would say someday this will be a theatre.
Alan – And then they would have a little performance.
Sheila – The actors would say the stage will be here, and they would do a performance to get the community involved. Inviting everyone we knew to let them know ANW was coming to Pasadena.
Alan – And then we came up with the idea to have an Educational Committee to get more involvement from the schools.
Sheila – We were here every day making phone calls to schools.
Alan – Sheila came up with the idea of ‘Adopt-A-Bus’ where someone would donate to ANW in order to help kids get to the student matinees because the schools couldn’t afford the transportation. A lot of the fundraising was for the educational mission.
Sheila – Eventually, I was invited to become a Board Member, which I did for several years.
Jim – Can you share any memorable ANW moments you have had over the years?
Alan – One of my fondest memories was one time when we got to the performance, this was after we had been going for a couple of years, and someone was sitting in one of our seats.
And I said excuse me, and it was Julia (Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, Artistic Director).
Sheila – She was waiting for us.
Alan – We had just started to donate. It was the first time we had met her, and it was her way of thanking us.
Sheila – It made all the difference in the world.
Alan – It made a difference to us, and we started to contribute more.
Jim – What are some of your favorite shows you have seen over the years?
Sheila – I pushed long and hard to get them to produce the August Wilson plays, and it is so amazing to see those productions. The director Gregg Daniel is wonderful and the actors as well.
We enjoy those shows immensely.
(Sheila and Alan recently co-Sponsored our production of August Wilson’s Radio Golf).
Alan – I didn’t use to care for musicals much, but when they did Man Of La Mancha…
Sheila – Oh yes, that brought tears to my eyes.
Alan – It was such an emotional production. That is one of my top 5.
Sheila – They brought it back a couple of times, and each time it was better.
Alan/Sheila – We both loved Tartuffe! There were many memorable Moliere productions, The Imaginary Invalid, The Miser, and The Misanthrope. Also, The Threepenny Opera was one of our favorite musicals.
We appreciated seeing plays that were part of the classic canon by Miller, Williams, O’Neill, Shaw, and others. And especially appreciate seeing plays not often performed like Endgame, Eurydice, and Metamorphoses.
Alan – Noises Off was also one of our favorites, and we saw it in London, and the ANW production was better.
Sheila – We love going to the 2 pm matinee with a group of friends, and we go to dinner afterward to discuss the show.
Jim – Why did you decide to join our Planned Giving, the Bard’s Legacy Circle?
Sheila – The idea was to give back to groups in Pasadena where we live. We really love ANW. It provides something for us, so we want to give back to the theatre. God knows they give us more than we could ever ask for.
Alan – Like I said, it is a home to us.
Sheila – Yea.
Alan – A home away from home for us. We are happy to do that so more people can come to this theatre.
Jim – It was wonderful talking with you both. Thank you both for your support, patronage, and guidance!
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