Folks with the Red Deer Players have launched a scholarship fund to honour one of the group’s founders – the late Carole Forhan – a bright light for many years in the local theatre community.
Forhan passed away this past October.
Nigel and Lori Lane, good friends of Forhan’s, Red Deer Players members and fellow theatre enthusiasts in the City, recall how thrilled Forhan had been to learn of Red Deer Players’ plans to stage the popular comedy Calendar Girls next year. Forhan initially had planned on appearing in the show.
With her illness this past summer, that of course changed and the Lanes ultimately discussed setting up a scholarship with Forhan in her honour – an idea she was pleased to learn about.
“When we heard the news about Carole’s diagnosis, Lori and I also immediately began investigations into dedicating our March show, Calendar Girls, to Carole,” explained Nigel.
“We had already decided to work with the Cancer Society on using this show to build awareness and raise funds for the fight against cancer. However, there was also something else we felt we needed to do. That was to create a scholarship for the theatrical arts in Carole’s name.
“We tried to move on this as quickly as we could, as we wanted Carole to be involved in it.”
The couple worked with Forhan’s family and in particular, her daughter Andrea who is a lawyer. The scholarship concept was eventually taken to the board of Red Deer Players, and was approved.
Several details still have to be worked out such as eligibility criteria. But in the meantime, anyone can donate towards the scholarship via an account that has been set up. Several have already donated to the cause, and tax receipts can also be issued.
“We are collecting cheques as we speak,” said Nigel.
“I lost my dad to cancer, and so many people have been touched by cancer,” he said. “I said to Lori, what we really should do is dedicate the show to Carole. But I’m also thinking at the time that it’s not enough, as I know of Carole’s total immersion, dedication and passion for theatre. We felt that we also needed to remember her in a meaningful way – something that would last, and something that she would appreciate,” he added of the scholarship.
Looking ahead, Red Deer Players’ opening night Calendar Girls will be a gala and fundraising event, at which organizers will raise money for the Cancer Society, and for the Carole Forhan Theatrical Arts Scholarship.
“We’re hoping to raise $2,500 for the scholarship that night, ” he said, pointing out that organizers would like to see the funds go to someone who really embodies Forhan’s remarkable work ethic and her overall passion for theatre.
For more information, check out www.reddeerplayers.com.