You have had a hand in making my dreams come true. But it’s been kind of a long journey, so let’s start at the beginning.
Growing up in southern Oregon’s Cave Junction – with a whopping population of 1,883 – provided so many ideal things: a beautiful landscape, wonderful people and a slower pace of life. But as a kid who wanted nothing more than to sing and act in musicals, it wasn’t enough. We had a struggling high school choir and a theater department that was in flux. My teachers tried their best, but there was no way around it – funds were tight and there were limits to our small town.
My mom, seeing how much I craved to perform, wanted to encourage my interest in the arts. She was determined. Mom drove my brother Nathan and me up Redwood Highway, 30 miles one way, to the “big city” of Grants Pass (population 37,579). We had arrived.
Even though I was painfully shy and insecure, the theater community in Grants Pass embraced Nathan and me. We were able to experience what it was like to be part of a theater community – and we loved it. Not only were our talents cultivated, we were fully encouraged to do what made us (literally) sing. But I knew there was an even bigger world out there.
I continued my path up north and fully immersed myself in the theater program at George Fox University. Once I graduated, I had dreams of being an actress in Portland – and I did get in a few shows. But I never felt truly at home there, and I didn’t feel like I was learning or progressing as an actor. Even though I thought I had overcome them long ago, I still struggled with a lot of insecurities and doubts about my artistic abilities.
Enter Pentacle Theatre. I had heard about Pentacle but I wasn’t sure it was a place for me or if I would thrive there. My confidence was pretty shot. Two college friends had had some success at Pentacle … maybe I might too? After auditioning a couple of times, I was finally cast in the production of Kiss Me Kate. What an experience. My dream of finding a theater “home” was coming true. I found community and friends – Jeff, Vinnie, Susan, Jeremy, and Lucas – and it felt like I belonged.
Little did I know that being in that 2005 production would change my life so profoundly. Not only did I find a theater home in Pentacle, I found a place where my full artistic gifts were affirmed and cultivated. Because you believed in my dreams, I’ve had the chance to learn, grow, and be challenged and supported. I’ve been able to do things that this introverted and insecure kid never thought would be possible: act, direct and serve on the Pentacle Theatre Board of Directors (even as president). I’ve been able to watch my husband, Bryan, up on stage too. What a thrill!
So, do you see how you made my dreams come true?
Every time you donate your financial gifts to Pentacle Theatre, you create possibilities for so many people. You help us experience what it’s like to step on that stage and fully become who we’re meant to be.
You make it possible for so many people like me to take a role behind the curtain as part of the production crew.
You make it possible for so many people like me to gain leadership skills that are making a difference not only at Pentacle, but in our community too.
In a world where everyone feels so divided, Pentacle Theatre is able to bring us all together to experience funny, challenging, maddening, glorious theater. That’s a dream that you, through your donations, make possible.
So, during this season of giving, I encourage you to continue to make more Pentacle dreams possible for our community with a generous year-end gift.
With all my heart, thank you.
Heather Dunkin Toller
P.S. You can make a tax-deductible donation easily on on this website. May all your holiday dreams come true!