The Play a Part Seat Endowment Program is an initiative of the Glasshouse that allows you to bestow a seat in the name of a loved one or group. The first people to take part in this program, Jack and Patricia Ross, tell us about the significance of their donation.
> What are your impressions of the Glasshouse?
Patricia: I think it’s beautiful in every way. I think it’s a big asset to Port Macquarie and I look forward to spending lots of time here.
Jack: I think it’s magnificent! I spent 50 years as a broadcast engineer, and the Glasshouse is as good as any venue I’ve seen.
> Tell us a bit about your history in Port Macquarie.
Jack: I’ve been here 20 odd years. I was in Brisbane for about 25 years and I transferred to South Australia for 25 years. I mainly looked after the ABC Studios and the National Broadcaster Transmitters. One of my major projects was the Construction of Radio Australia in Darwin.
Patricia: I came to Port Macquarie in 2003 and I married Jack in the garden of his house a little while later. He was my late husband’s closest friend. We met in 1959 and then came back together in 2003.
> You have endowed two seats in the memory of your nieces, and their names are now on the plaques mounted on the seats you chose in the theatre. What is the story behind your endowment?
Patricia: The seats are endowed in the names of two of my nieces, Cheryl and Robyn, the eldest girls of my brother. Cheryl was born in 1945 and Robyn in 1947.
At the front desk, I think it was, we heard the idea of endowment of seats in memory of loved ones. On the tour, when we were sitting in the theatre, the idea of endowment seats was raised and I was looking at the two little seats at the very front of the right side of the dress circle.
I’m sure it was at that moment I saw my two little nieces, Cheryl and Robyn, sitting in those seats, giggling and chatting and watching for the curtain to go up. I felt straightaway that it would be good to have the two seats in their memory to capture that feeling for all the family to enjoy.
I had only seen Cheryl and Robyn a handful of times since they were young because of the distance geographically between us. Cheryl passed away in a motorcar accident in 1974 and Robyn in 2008 from cancer. I know that their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will love this memory too.
> What will your financial contribution go towards?
It will go to a fund that is used for the education programs run for the youth of the Port Macquarie Hastings Region.
> In your opinion, why is the Glasshouse so important in Port Macquarie?
Jack: It is a cultural venue. Except for a few odd halls, there’s no other place where there can be a variety of shows and exhibitions. One hall can now cater for the lot: that’s what the Glasshouse does, caters for all forms of entertainment.
Patricia: I think the Glasshouse is so beautiful it would be welcome anywhere, and we are lucky to have it in Port Macquarie.
> How important are the performing arts and culture within our region, particularly in supporting our youth?
Jack: It’s essential to have a cultural image for young people to look up to, and elderly people too. They need something they can relate to. Young people with all their modern technology and the information they are receiving from music and videos don’t get to experience live shows very much, which is now something they can aspire to.
Patricia: Youth are very important and they are always with us, even if we may not realise it. When I think of culture I always remember when I was in Alice Springs on a tour. All the little Aboriginal children were coming out of school, all singing at the tops of their voices, happily and beautifully. They went on to the playground equipment, still singing without anyone instructing them to. To me, that was culture and art.
We were all amazed! I think all children need that and they need to be able to experience art and self expression whenever they can.
> Thank you Jack and Patricia.
For further information on how to become involved in the Play a Part program, contact the Glasshouse on 6581 8888 or visit www.glasshouse.org.au
Seat endowments start from $1,500 and can be paid in instalments over three years and are fully tax deductible.