Performances for furloughed employees: Virginia Stage Company

By Teresa Eyring posted 01-29-2019 17:41

John Post, Caleigh Howell, Jack Wielar, April Post, and Craig Waletzko in Virginia Stage Company's production of FUN HOME. Photo by Samuel W. FlintJohn Post, Caleigh Howell, Jack Wielar, April Poland, and Craig Waletzko in Virginia Stage Company's production of Fun Home. Photo by Samuel W. Flint

In my Weekly Briefing earlier this month, I asked readers to share their own stories of the government shutdown, particularly any engagement with furloughed federal employees. So I was delighted when Brad Tuggle, director of marketing at Virginia Stage Company, reached out to us with an inspiring contribution to #shutdownstories. ​​According to Brad, Virginia Stage offered complimentary tickets for their production of Fun Home to furloughed federal employees. Many serving in the Coast Guard call Norfolk, VA home, making this invitation a small but significant act of appreciation and solidarity.

They had nine households take them up on the offer, most of whom were new to the theatre. One patron offered the following feedback through a postshow form: 

"Fantastic show with outstanding acting by all performers. We attended due to your offer to provide tickets to furloughed federal employees. As soon as I receive my back pay, I intend to donate an amount at least as much as the value of the tickets."

In a time of political polarization, comments like these remind us of the unique power theatre has to heal. Bravo to Virginia Stage and all theatres that opened their doors to furloughed employees! Though the shutdown is over for the moment, I encourage you to send more of your #shutdownstories to Gus Schulenburg for inclusion here on the Circle and elsewhere. ​These stories help us tell the story of why theatre is even more important in times of civic division,