(Photo courtesy of Wade Spees/The Post and Courier)
Charleston Stage lost one of its dearest friends on Monday.
Laura Hewitt gave so very much to our community over the years. She served on many of Charleston’s leading non-profit boards, chairing fundraiser after fundraiser and cheering on those in the non-profit and arts worlds of the Lowcountry. She inspired a generation of artistic and social service organizations and made us all want to do our best. Because of her efforts, Laura made a difference in literally thousands of lives, both young and old, throughout our community.
Laura served as one of Charleston Stage’s first gala and auction chairs, growing this annual event into one of Charleston’s premiere fundraisers and providing the funding to enrich and expand Charleston Stage’s education programs. Laura served as vice-president and president of the Board of Trustees for multiple terms. As president, she oversaw the creation of Charleston Stage’s Resident Professional Acting Company, which has brought over 60 full-time professional actors to the Dock Street stage to perform—actors who have also provided numerous enriching and imaginative workshops in area schools.
Laura and her husband, Bill, have sponsored a Charleston Stage MainStage production each season for almost 20 years, including last season’s Gershwin at Folly. Laura was especially supportive of original works and always encouraged us to produce “something new”.
Laura was the epitome of one who gave her time, talent and treasure to her community. I remember at her very first board meeting she raised her hand and offered to sponsor an upcoming production of My Fair Lady. But her real gift was sharing her no-nonsense, straightforward and wise counsel with us. Without her leadership and guidance over so many years, Charleston Stage would be a shadow of what it is today.
More than anything, it was Laura’s never failing enthusiasm—not just for what we were producing but more importantly what we might produce next—that continued to inspire us. Her enthusiasm, time and time again, challenged us and made us a better organization. In many ways, it was her contagious energy that helped to set the stage for Charleston Stage’s remarkable growth during her many years of support and patronage.
Charleston and Charleston Stage have lost a treasured friend. I have no doubt, however, that for Charleston Stage and for the many other organizations with whom Laura worked, her enthusiasm lives on and will continue to inspire us for many years to come.
Thank you, Laura. We will miss you.
Founder and Producing Artistic Director