Being B.A.D. for good cause: Be Theatre’s Improv Event to benefit Zach Sutterfield[JAVA_FOR_LIKE]
By: Ami Mizell-Flint, Be Theatre Board Member
August 24, 2018
For the past year, Be Theatre has been hosting monthly improv events in their black box theatre, showcasing local talent. While audiences have been steadily increasing in numbers with each performance, actors are currently preparing for what promises to be their biggest improv show yet.
Be Theatre’s Improv Extravaganza will be held Saturday, September 1 in San Angelo Performing Arts Center’s Brooks and Bates Theater. Organizers are excited not just because the capacity of the audience is triple the size of previous audiences, but because they know this performance could go a long way in making a difference in the life of a young San Angeloan and his family.
All proceeds from the Improv Extravaganza will be donated to the family of Zachary Sutterfield, the 2016 Central graduate who is still in critical condition after an apartment fire in San Marcus in July. Although Zach was not a part of the Be Theatre community, through his involvement with Central High School’s Speech and Debate team, many of the young Be Theatre actors know and love Zach and were deeply affected by his life-changing event.
“The agony they shared with us during those first few days, when Haley was missing, and after Zach was identified as having a life-threatening condition, was excruciating, because we love these students so deeply,” said Elena Kent, artistic director of Be Theatre. “The entire community was rallying… praying… hoping… crying.”
“We wept, we still weep, for Haley Frizell and her family,” Kent said.
Haley was at first missing and then was found to have died in the July fire.
“But, here is this young person, who is still living, who needs a community to keep praying and hoping. I knew we had to do something.”
That “something” was to turn Be Theatre’s improv show, which in the past has been a fundraiser for the theater itself, into a fundraiser for the Sutterfield family.
“We had planned for this month’s improv to be a bigger deal, to raise funds for Be,” said Mike Burnett, who directs the improv shows. “When Elena approached us with the idea to do something for Zach, we were on board right away.”
“We dedicated our melodrama to Haley, who was a Be Theatre volunteer and best friend to many of our Be Theatre young performers, Kent said. “This is the next step- using laughter to help in the recovery of Zach.”
Zach’s parents plan to attend the event and are looking forward to seeing the community in support of their son.
“We are excited to be there,” said Karl Sutterfield, Zach’s father. “Zach would have loved this! We are excited to laugh and be surrounded by people who love Zach.”
“It’s one of those things that the arts are good at,” Burnett said. “If we can ease the stress even a little bit, make some people laugh just for a moment, and at the same time help Zach and his family out, then it’s a win.”
While the event will be held in a different, larger theatre, patrons will notice many more changes as well.
“We’re pulling out all the stops,” Burnet said. “New games. Loved games. All the performers. Musical improv. It’s going to be a great night.”