Leif Deatherage is this year’s recipient of a Footlighters Theatre Society bursary, presented at the organization’s annual general meeting on Aug. 20.
This is the first bursary the theatre troupe has presented to a high school graduate moving on to post-secondary education in the performing arts and recognizes Deatherage’s longtime volunteer work for the organization as he heads to the University of Winnipeg’s theatre arts program, majoring in stage management.
“It’s excellent to be recognized,” said Deatherage. “Knowing that your efforts are not only recognized but supported is a great feeling.”
Deatherage has been onstage twice, in Aladdin and Nana’s Naughty Knickers, but his key contribution has been as stage manager or stage crew in a dozen productions, from Dogsbreath Devereaux, the Dastardly Doctor in 2014 through A Christmas Carol last season. As stage manager, his position included overseeing backstage and onstage operations during performances, duties that were a big help in his choice of career path.
“It showed me a love for theatre that I didn’t know I had before,” said Deatherage. “Footlighters let me experiment, learn and, most of all, enjoy myself while doing something I love.”
His contributions to Footlighters performances haven’t gone unnoticed by the organization’s board, which voted unanimously to offer him the $500 bursary.
“A show can’t run smoothly without a capable stage manager,” said president Brian Lawrence. “We’re very appreciative and proud of the work Leif has done on some of our most challenging productions.”
The organization plans to continue offering a bursary based on the funds it has available each year, with all high school graduates who have volunteered significant time to Footlighters and are going on to post-secondary performing arts education being considered.
“We want to acknowledge the young people who contribute so much to the vitality of our group,” said Lawrence. “This is a way that we can say thank you.”