2015 Phantom of the Theatre Award

January 26, 2015
Mark and Betty Peters

Congratulations to Mark and Betty Peters of Curtain Players for receiving the 2015 Joseph F. Scharrer Phantom of the Theatre Award! Mr. and Mrs. Peters were nominated by Curtain Players President Jill Taylor. In her nomination letter, Jill said, "Mark and Betty have long been 'phantoms' at the Curtain Players playhouse on Harlem Road. The leadership team knows well their generosity, but not everyone realizes the major impact Mark and Betty’s engagement has on this longstanding community theatre. In 2014, their commitment again has been key to the success of the program and to the improvement of the venue. Mark and Betty do not take stage turns, instead participating behind the scenes in positions where neither hears the sound of audience applause. Betty Peters has been pivotal to Curtain Players in its box office operations. She has been a constant, over the years personally maintaining patron relationships she has cultivated on the theatre’s behalf. She navigates technological updates in ticketing along with shifting leadership changes and protocols, all the while advocating for Players patrons and teaching new volunteers to master the level of customer service Curtain audiences have come to expect. As rehearsal assistant for nearly every production, Betty devotes long hours at the playhouse following scripts for actors. And like a phantom, Betty magically produces accurate line notes for cast members before the sun rises the next morning. Mark Peters is the technician, a designer and board operator for many productions, but also a caretaker for the light and sound equipment and the building itself, as well as a teacher for those new to stagecraft. Mark and Betty have given financially to the theatre, often anonymous gifts that have made it possible to purchase new lighting instruments and systems and to make improvements to the historic building that is Curtain’s theatre home. Together, Mark and Betty are the theatre’s archivists, as such truly unsung heroes for any organization. As players come and go with successive opening nights, they keep track of the traffic, the governance, and the ephemera, researching and preserving a legacy of local theatre that continues after more than half a century. Mark and Betty Peters are not only phantoms at Curtain Players. The couple frequently haunts many Central Ohio venues to applaud and to financially support the efforts of stage artists at levels from high school and college, community and semiprofessional, regional and touring. And they have also fostered introductions that have led to cooperative partnerships for their home theatre. Theatres, particularly community theatres, cannot succeed without volunteers and patrons like Mark and Betty Peters, and Curtain Players is proud and honored to have these originals in our 'community in theatre.'"

Former Ohio State Theatre Box Office Manager Joe Scharrer was one of those critical “behind the scenes” people that exist in every theatre organization.  He was never in front of the curtain or in the limelight, but he was essential to the theatre’s operation and was a unique part of our theatre community. In honor of Joe, The Ohio State University Department of Theatre in conjunction with the Theatre Roundtable created the “Joseph F. Scharrer – Phantom of the Theatre Award” in 2010.  This award is given annually to a person or persons who provide critical tasks to make a production company work, but are truly an un-sung hero. The other nominee for the 2015 Phantom of the Theatre Award was Karla Andrews from Curtain Players, SRO Theatre Company, Columbus Children’s Theatre, Fort Hayes, Available Light Theatre, and Short North Stage.