Tami Marquardt was Plan-B’s board chair from 2009-2010 and currently serves as board vice president. She shares her thoughts on Plan-B’s LGBTQ work as part of Give OUT Day.
Perhaps nothing has moved me quite like the brutal, hateful murder of the young gay man, Matthew Shepard. In 2001, my partner Jane and I were given the opportunity to help fund the Plan-B production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT that recounted Matthew’s emotional story. Even the pre-show speech was powerful for us: it was the first time Jane and I were publicly acknowledged as a couple.
I still remember meeting Plan-B director, Jerry Rapier, at the Oasis café to give him our check. When I saw the amazing, socially conscious work that was being done by Plan-B, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It is an honor to serve on the board of such a prestigious company. As a former English teacher and school psychologist, this world of ideas and their social impact is my cup of tea. The gay theme has been woven both overtly and subtly in many Plan-B productions.
As a woman who happens to be gay, this work is important to me. I see the powerful effects it can have to create social awareness and change. For example, I heard countless stories of Mormon families who came as a group to see Pearson’s FACING EAST. The conversations that these families were able to have as a direct result of the presentation of these ideas were absolutely heart-changing and created positive impact on these important relationships going forward.
In the world of gay political activism and philanthropy, I cannot think of a more effective tool than the remarkable power of theatre to move the hearts and minds of people towards fairness. I commend Plan-B for its incredible work in this area.