Accio-Blogus! - September Blog 2014
by Shannon Barry

My husband, William Bolz (member of Forward Theater Company's Advisory Company), and I have many things in common (which is a good thing when you decide to spend the rest of your life with someone). One of those things is a deep love of theater. Another is an obsession for reading – especially books from the fantasy genre. And a third is for entertaining – specifically throwing costume parties for our creative, artsy friends. When we heard that this year's theme for one of our favorite annual events – Feast Forward – was "banned books," it seemed like a perfect opportunity to combine many of our loves together into one delightful evening of merriment with our wonderful friends by throwing a "Harry Potter" themed dinner party (with costumes, of course). The bonus is that we also get to benefit an incredible organization which is near and dear to our hearts.

Now neither Bill nor I are culinary masters by any stretch of the imagination. However, it has been so much fun planning a themed menu and trying to figure out the best recipe for "Butter Beer" for our guests, not to mention pulling together our costumes and coming up with other creative, Harry Potter inspired surprises for our dinner party. Planning this party has been one of the easiest we've ever done due to the outstanding support we've received from the Forward team. (In fact, I think our biggest challenge is going to be mustering the patience to wait until October 11th to reveal all we have in store for our guests.)

Though we have attended Feast Forward dinners in the past, this is the first year we are hosting a dinner of our own. The Feast Forward concept is incredibly brilliant. It provides us with the opportunity to spend quality time with our guests in an intimate setting over dinner and then to celebrate with other Forward supporters at Overture with wonderful desserts and awesome entertainment.

As the executive director of a local non-profit, I am very particular about which non-profits I support with my time and treasure. Forward Theater Company is at the top of my list because they are a well-run, fiscally sound organization that provides a high quality theater experience for Madison audiences. Additionally, they focus on connecting with the broader community through education and outreach, partnering with other local non-profits, encouraging dialogue with their audiences through talk backs at every show, and employing outstanding theater professionals and artists from our area. My support of Forward Theater Company is an investment in my community.