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From Lisa – The Gift of Community

June 4, 2012

© h. scott heist 11 /

As the busy season here at Touchstone winds down there is (thankfully!) some time to reflect on the entire past season. A season filled with community building events– most recently, the Civil War Project and Young Playwrights’ Lab, both of which had me thinking a lot about community, how we do our part in building it, but also how Touchstone has given me the gift of community.

I’ve been a Touchstone company member since winter 2001, slowly over the years moving out from “behind the scenes” (initially as the stage manager running the show, usually hidden away in the tech booth) and into the “spotlight” (now as the managing director running the company interacting more face to face with Touchstone patrons and greater community, chatting with folks in the lobby, giving the pre-show curtain speech, etc.). Simultaneously, my appreciation for and integration into the Bethlehem community has deepened, and the faces and names I often heard or would see over and over again on the streets, in the shops, and out at meetings have now become well-known faces and friendly acquaintances. Heading out to a Bethlehem event now, such as the Bethlehem Fine Arts & Craft Festival a few weekends ago, or this past weekend’s Southside Sale and Celtic Kilt Crawl (and quite often even the grocery store!), I’m happy to see many people with connections to the Touchstone family.

© h. scott heist 11 /

While waiting in line at the Harvest Festival last year, my husband and I chatted with a woman whose mother’s story was told years ago in our SouthSide Experience production.  She shared how meaningful that was for her mother, which made my day.  At Molly’s restaurant after A Resting Place, a few us “touchstonians” ran into a couple who’d seen the show and were blown away by it. They’d even dropped off in our door slot a cd with photos they’d taken. Now we knew who’d anonymously passed on the great pics! It seems everywhere I go, there is either someone I know who is already connected to us, or someone that I meet who is and I just didn’t know it yet. The day after the Young Playwrights’ Festival, I was chatting about the event with a good friend who just happened to be the second cousin of an actor who’s been in my play two years in a row– what?!

The connections and ripple effect that Touchstone has is incredible. And even more incredible to me is this gift I’ve been given, to work at a place that offers me the opportunity year after year to meet people from all over the Lehigh Valley who have in some way been touched (couldn’t resist!) by the theatre.  I look forward to the next 10 years– how will Touchstone’s reach into the community grow, and how many more people will I meet in the process…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2012 9:20 pm

    I’m touched by this, Lisa. Strangely, I couldn’t see this until you said it, couldn’t see it happening to you.

    • June 4, 2012 9:59 pm

      Beautifully said, Lisa. The gift of community is exactly what grabbed me with the Don Quixote of Bethlehem Project, and it’s what’s kept me loyal to Touchstone since then. With the Touchstone family ever expanding, I think your future looks promising….

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