The following article first appeared in The Mint Hill Times on December 2, 2020 Written by Jessica Mentzer
CHARLOTTE – What are you thankful for? Each one of us has many things to be thankful for, and the Matthews Playhouse presented the community with one of the most interesting ways to be able to share them with others. COVID has changed how we learn, shop, work, and interact with our friends and family. Actually, the list could go on and on, but being able to still show thankfulness during this time of the year was very important to the playhouse.
What started as an idea from Board Member Volunteer Debbie Messner, who has been participating at the Matthews Playhouse for a few years, soon became a vision that seemed fitting for the year of 2020. The playhouse believes that it takes a village to be able to do what they have a chance to do for the community. They are able to provide citizens with youth education programs and community-at-large public shows.
At the playhouse, the staff is a small group, so they heavily rely on the board members and volunteers to be able to accomplish all that they do. As the pandemic hit, the staff realized that the resources that they provide to the community and services they receive from the community were going to be greatly affected during the entire health crisis. The top priority – and greatest challenge – of the playhouse was to make sure that they always remain engaged and relevant in the community and are providing entertainment for people of all ages. As they were faced with the COVID crisis, they then needed to decide how were they going to make sure that was still going to happen.
That’s when the idea of the 25 Days Of Thankfulness was born. Amazingly, the idea brought together acknowledgment of their thankfulness and affirmation of the local community. Their social media presence was the perfect medium for this project. The project supported the spirit of involvement from the community and brought those together who support the Matthews Playhouse. On November 1, Matthew’s Playhouse started their first day of thankfulness, and each day they posted what they were thankful for. Since it is the 25th anniversary of the playhouse they thought it was only fitting that they do the engagement for 25 days.
Each day a new post with an affirmation of thankfulness appeared. Each post encouraged interaction of the community and supporters of the playhouse to share. On the first day, they posted about being thankful for their “School of Theatre Students” asking each of the students to post and for others to post about their favorite student. Day 14 of thankfulness honored their non-profit partners. Their partner Common Heart provided the community in Common Heart’s 2020 Great Turkey Countdown. The post encouraged followers to join in. From the first day to the last day, each of the posts expressed as much thankfulness as the last. It was an amazing way to bring everyone together without actually bringing them together physically. The 25 Days Of Thankfulness was a wonderful way to make sure that the community and the playhouse remain engaged and supportive during times that we could have never expected.
In the coming month of December, the Matthews Playhouse will continue its engagement with the community virtually. A Virtual Christmas Carol will be performed by children on Dec. 4th. It is free to the community “It’s a Wonderful Life A Virtual Radio Show” can be watched anytime from December 18 through January 3. The cost will be $10 per household.
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