And if you are a DC-area theatre-maker in need of support, please learn more about applying to the Taking Care Fund.
Deisi is an arts administrator, currently working as the box office manager at Olney Theatre Center. She lives in Maryland with her family.
I have a job I’ve always wanted to do – how many people are so lucky as to be able to say that?
Going on five years, I’ve been working in the box office, first as supervisor and now as manager, at Olney Theatre Center and I really love it. When I was younger, I danced and worked in theatres and as life took me in different directions, I always wanted to get back to the arts. Years ago, when I was working as an economist in DC, I would drive by Olney on my commute and think “one day I should work there.” And then that day came – they were hiring for a box office manager and I was so, so happy to get the job.
The last few years for all of us have been uncertain. When the pandemic first hit, just like everyone, we scrambled, we made quick decisions and adjustments, we adapted. But in that time of isolation, I never felt like we were alone. Everything we were doing, we were doing in community – listening to each other, having conversations, reflecting on our actions and history and making changes for our future. With my colleagues, artists, and patrons, we held faith that we’d get back to the work we love…and we did.
This year brought another life-changing experience for me. I was diagnosed with a large meningioma tumor and had my first brain surgery five months ago, and a second one just under two months ago. I had, and still have, a lot of recovering to do. And of course, I was concerned about my finances – I used all of my paid time off, and the medical bills were starting to come. At a time when I was supposed to be focused on healing, I was very stressed. I got an email from a colleague that mentioned Theatre Washington’s Taking Care Fund – I didn’t know something like this existed and just the promise of some relief, gave me hope. After I applied and was awarded a grant to cover some of my medical expenses, I was so deeply grateful. I definitely cried like a baby. I felt like I had been given time to focus on myself and relief from so much worry. I couldn’t believe it was real. The grant from the Fund came at just the right moment. I was struggling and far beyond the money, the grant made me feel valuable in this community. It is still very meaningful for me after all these months.
The Taking Care Fund is touching real people like me. And not just me, my family. It was a blessing for all of us.
I am now back to work in-person! The Taking Care Fund helped me back to theatre, to doing what I love to do. I was in very bad shape and without having time to heal, I might not have been able to go back. For me, the Taking Care Fund represents an understanding that we don’t have to struggle alone. We have a community that will surround us when we need it.