Donor Spotlight: Mark Seavers
As an Alley Advisory Board member, capital campaign donor, annual fund donor, Legacy donor and—with the gift of complimentary landscaping for the theatre’s campus—an in-kind donor, your myriad methods of support is quite an anomaly. All this in less than three years. What compels you to give so much?
My family had very little through many of the growing up years and never had a lot of material possessions, but as we moved all around the country we saw and did things everywhere. My mom took us to community theatre when our new city had it, and I got to do a summer theater workshop in New Jersey after fifth grade. Girlfriends during the Nebraska high school years got me into all the aspects of our very strong theater program, and live theater has been a part of life ever since. These last years have had many severe as well as generous periods. While mentoring several hundred high school students these last 15 years in organizations I serve, through thick and thin the underlying premise I’ve taught as well as lived is: seek the welfare of the city where you find yourself; build houses, plant gardens. Basically, invest in your communities serving out of your passions. The lesson of 'giving out of poverty' crystallized after a catastrophic accident 11 years ago that the medical staff couldn't believe I survived. When you are at the brink of bankruptcy or a day away from your house being seized after being unable to function for six months as well as 14 months of recovery, you learn and grow if you choose to do so. Several years ago I did not have money to give, but the gift of landscape as well as time could be given. Additionally, giving landscape let Dean Gladden and company finish that detail of the renovation without having to spend precious capital campaign funds. Creativity is the hallmark of our business, and I believe it is one of the major underlying strengths of the US economic success. The theater expresses creativity from beginning to end—construction, staging, costume, tech, acting, production, administration. Anyone paying attention can learn vast and varied lessons any time they interact with it. So many of the students I’ve served have thrived after becoming involved in theater that it is now a key piece of my admonitions to them. I am honored to serve in whatever capacity possible to the extent circumstances allow.
What has been your favorite play so far and what are you looking forward to seeing most in our 2017-18 season?
Favorite play? Are you kidding? How do you choose from such consistent strength of programming, production, direction and acting? If forced to select favorites, they would be—following the resident actors from role to role as well as absorbing the varied production styles from play to play. Having been to many Guthrie performances until they opened their new space and released their resident actors, the Alley commitment to the local community of talent as well as its own acting company is very special and important to me.
You seem to make a point of bringing guests with you to our plays and patron events. Why do you feel this is so important?
Both my company and I are very invested in numerous relationships with many individuals as well as entities; relationships are what make life rich and grand. It is a joy to bring our client friends to the theater for an inspiring and entertaining evening, and it is also rewarding to have some of those patrons decide to support the alley after their introduction. We are glad to have our friends be inspired by some of the same things which inspire us; it gives us more to joyously share in life.