Roundtable Remembers Betty Peters

Posted: Monday, January 29, 2018, 12:39pm

The Theatre Roundtable recognized Betty Peters during in memoriam presentations at its annual celebration of central Ohio theatre Sunday January 28 at the Jewish Community Center of Columbus.

The Roundtable invited Curtain Players to celebrate Peters, a longtime volunteer who died in July. It was only three years ago at the Roundtable event that Betty and her husband Mark received The Joseph F. Scharrer Phantom of the Theatre Award, recognizing unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to sustain local theatre efforts.

Curtain Players President James F. Petsche penned the in memoriam tribute and shared it with the audience during the program. The community theatre company publishes those words here so those were unable to attend may appreciate Peters, her contributions, and her spirit.

It reads as follows…

Indeed, if all the world is a stage, and all its people players, then it is truly remarkable to be touched and to be embraced by one who is a fully fleshed out character.

Betty Peters was a champion of theatre in central Ohio even though she never displayed versatility on the stage or demonstrated directorial, technical, or design acumen.

Though small in stature, Betty exercised superpowers from house seats and behind the scenes. And those of us working in our community in theatre at Curtain Players, where Betty made her theatre home, realize, even more now by her absence, her efforts truly made our program stronger.

She was more than our longtime reservationist and face at the box office. She offered personal concierge service that has made our patrons lasting friends of the theatre.

A lover of the written word, as our frequent rehearsal assistant, Betty with a velvet glove – and the warning but comforting preface, “You know I love you, but…” – she made it her mission that our actors were word perfect and to help them along, as if by magic, had detailed line notes delivered to e-mail in-boxes before the moon set.

Betty and her husband Mark our theatre archivists. Our art is ephemeral. And Betty and Mark worked hard to be sure what Curtain Players had done yesterday and is doing today, and the rotating colorful cast of volunteers doing it, were documented to be recognized and remembered by those who are coming down the aisles. This work was important to Betty.

And while we at Curtain Players think ourselves the envy of local stage companies having a loyal and committed volunteer as Betty in our ranks, Betty’s contributions reached far beyond Harlem Road.  She was a frequent and active patron of local high school, college, community, and professional theatres, generously leading the laughter and applause, offering encouraging words, and making friends and connections show after show.

She paid attention. She cheered. She challenged. She questioned. She criticized. She advocated. She card. And she loved. Betty considered many of you here tonight family.

The plays and performances she experienced provided materials for her eponymous The Betty Blog. In what would be her final entry, a review of Gahanna High School’s studio production of the Pound: A Musical for the Dogs – which she liked, by the wayshe closed with a simple sentence that then may have seemed a throwaway but, in hindsight, rings strangely and mysteriously and meaningfully appropriate from one who, but a few months later, would be taken from us. Betty gave what is perhaps the purest compliment any one of us could hope to receive. Betty wrote, “Thank you for this pleasant evening of theatre.”

No, Betty, thank you.