supporter Spotlight- Marc Burba

Wow, my first Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble show in almost 15 years! As I settled into my front-row seat before one of the final performances of "Body Awareness" in early October, I had time to reflect on what BTE has meant to me.

I was still too young to drive when BTE entered my life -- on a Shamokin Area High School bus trip to Bloomsburg State College to see a matinee performance of "A Christmas Carol." That was 1980, before the college became a university and before the renovated Alvina Krause Theatre opened. I went every year my school offered the trip.

After I got my driver's license at age 16, I attended every BTE show for several years. The Alvina Krause already had become a cultural oasis in a region with limited opportunities. I was exposed to Shakespeare, Chekhov, Moliere, Pinter, Brecht, Inge, Knott -- some of them names that I otherwise might not have known. I wanted to drink in every performance, to challenge myself to step into different times and places and cultures. My visits to the theater continued through my college years.

I left Pennsylvania after I received my bachelor's degree from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, but whenever I return I try to fit in a BTE show. The trips have become less frequent because of deaths and the scattering of my core family to other states; the few visits prior to this one didn't line up with the production schedule. Still, BTE remains a strong influence in my life. Whenever I attend a Broadway production, a stop of a national tour, a regional theater event, or sometimes even a ballet or an opera, I thank BTE for instilling a love of live performance and encouraging me to seek new experiences in the arts. BTE's lesson has extended to my choice of books, television shows, movies, and travel destinations: Step outside of your comfort zone, take a chance on a new adventure, and reap the rewards.

Today, to still see so many familiar faces in the ensemble really says something about how committed they are to this community and how the community has embraced them. I am so glad that BTE has expanded its outreach to high school students, and I hope that by being a donor I can continue to support its mission in some small way -- even from Texas, where I now live.

I am extremely fortunate that I was able to see two BTE veterans, and two members of BTE's next generation, in "Body Awareness." Elizabeth Dowd and James Goode, thank you for being a presence in my life since I was a teenager. Cassandra Pisieczko, Erik Wunsch, and director Richard Cannaday, I can only hope that you continue to learn from your mentors and that you carry on BTE's proud legacy, so that 30-some years from now someone will return to the Alvina Krause Theatre to let you know that you made a difference.