John Sawyer and Pam Stanton, longtime subscribers and donors at LWT, have also been active at WSHU Public Radio, even answering the phones for their pledge drives. So, they have a good sense of what donors like to do. “The automatic monthly gift is what most donors like, especially those on fixed incomes. It’s easy to do, and easier on the monthly budget,” John said.
So, mirroring their experience with public radio, they decided this year to take advantage of Long Wharf Theatre’s monthly online giving program, where an automatic monthly deduction is made from their credit card. “It’s great to be able to make our Long Wharf gift this way—everybody should try it! Plus, as a donor, you get invited to interesting behind the scenes events—we’ve been lucky to hear Phylicia Rashad speak at a working rehearsal, and Sam Waterston at a donor party. We love being part of it,” Pam said.
John and Pam have been coming to Long Wharf for at least 25 years, with a group of equally devoted friends. They love the social time with their friends, having dinner before the show, and comparing their reactions and thoughts afterwards, often at the talkback. They “can’t imagine living in an area without great theatre” and “appreciate that Long Wharf doesn’t just stick with the easy plays.” Their wide ranging tastes are apparent when they list some of their favorite productions, which include both the A.R. Gurney comedy “Sylvia,” in which the main character is a dog played by a woman; and Sam Shepard’s gritty, difficult “Curse of the Starving Class.” While Pam “prefers more traditional plays over new ones,” she enjoyed the contemporary take on “Our Town,” which opened this anniversary season. Highlights of long ago seasons include John Lithgow and Richard Dreyfus in “Requiem for a Heavyweight”, Al Pacino in “American Buffalo,” and Margaret Edson’s “Wit” starring Kathleen Chalfant.
Both John and Pam are retired, and now that they have more time, use their expertise to help others. John, who grew up in Boston, is an information technology specialist, with a long career working for such well-known companies as Winchester Firearms and Sikorsky. He teaches information management and technology through professional societies, such as APICS, sharing the knowledge and insight developed over many years. Pam, who worked in the Woodbridge school system for 37 1/2 years teaching Kindergarten through 5th grade—all of them!—volunteers at Yale-New Haven Hospital’s “Family Read” program, providing guidance to parents and other caregivers about using picture books with children to foster social, emotional, and intellectual growth and enjoyment. “Just like theatre, it’s all about storytelling,” she says.
When they’re not seeing plays at Long Wharf, or volunteering throughout the community, John and Pam love to go the Metropolitan Opera, as well as the Met HD Broadcasts at the Quick Center in Fairfield. But they always come back home to New Haven—and home to Long Wharf.