The popular annual fundraising event that features a cavalcade of Indianapolis artists representing various performing arts organizations and benefits the Indiana Aids Fund, a program of the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, is just days away. This year’s “Deborah J. Simon Spotlight” will take place Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Clowes Memorial Hall on the campus of Butler University.
Volunteering behind the scenes at Spotlight 2018 and since 1996 is Dance Kaleidoscope lighting designer and production manager Laura Glover. Possessing an impressive resume, Glover is regarded as one of Indianapolis’ premier theater artists. The resident lighting designer for Phoenix Theatre, she is also a company member of the Indianapolis Shakespeare Company and has lighted productions for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Time for Three, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Butler Ballet, and the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus. Soon Glover will also be lighting designer for Summit Performance, a recently formed women’s theatre group that will be a resident company of the new Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre. Glover holds an MFA in Lighting Design from State University of New York at Purchase and has earned international acclaim for her lighting with Dance Kaleidoscope, Ballets de San Juan, Rioult Dance NY, and Taylor 2.
Wishing to write a preview of Spotlight 2018, I asked Dance Kaleidoscope artistic director and Spotlight co-founder David Hochoy if he would suggest a story angle. Without hesitation, he recommended Glover because he felt there was no one more deserving than her. “Laura Glover has been my artistic partner for the past 27 seasons at Dance Kaleidoscope. I could not imagine a world without her brilliant, imaginative and thoroughly creative lighting design. Indeed, I credit her with shaping, along with me and the dancers, the artistic reputation for excellence now held and maintained by us through all these years of performances in Indianapolis. As far as Spotlight, she has been by my side from the very beginning, generously donating her time, expertise, creativity and generosity, and has made it possible for us to continue to produce this exceedingly important fundraiser year after year with excellent results. She is truly a gem!” he said.
Upon reaching out to Glover, she was already working on this year’s Spotlight, sending out emails to her contacts at the 15 performing arts organizations that are participating this year, asking them to inform her of their technical needs. “Typical questions asked might be: Are you going to be singing live? Will you need microphones? Will you have a band? Are you dancing to recorded music? What kind of lighting would you like?” Things like that. We put all that information together and that helps us with the programming in terms of content and spirit of each act and helps us decide where to place them accordingly,” Glover said.
Also part of the original team that has helped Hochoy mount Spotlight each year since its inception is the event’s producer-director David Dreyfoos, who sent me an email message, in which he wrote, “Laura Glover is the most talented, creative and generous human being that anyone would ever want to work with on Spotlight or any show for that matter. The breadth of her vision and passion are so clear when you see how she shapes light and creates unforgettable beauty and energy on stage. I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Laura for more than 20 years now and she never ceases to amaze me!”
When I asked Glover if she and the two Davids had the show down to a science, she said, “Yes, we do. Thanks to the Clowes house crew, which is great. They are one of my favorite crews to work with here in town. They are consistent from year to year. I have been working with this crew for 20 years. They are a union shop and the local has been very supportive of Spotlight. They also have their apprenticeship program come in and all that labor is donated too. Everything associated with the event’s production is donated. This year, I have a new lighting co-designer, Catherine Sipe, who represents Butler University and the deck manager is Matt Shives. There are some changes every year with different people backstage, but we are very lucky because we’ve had consistency with the people running it. Someone really important to David Dreyfoos is Katie Angel. She has been one of our stage managers for years. We are very lucky to have a core group of people. All that work gets done in one day. I got a program order sent out yesterday and this morning, I sent technical information over to Clowes so they will know what to expect. But the minute we walk into that door, we are working from 8:00 a.m. until the time the show comes down 13 or 14 hours later.”
And what does volunteering her professional skills and talents on behalf of Spotlight all these years mean to her? “It has always been a very gratifying experience, in terms of all the money we have raised, not only for the Health Foundation and the AIDS Fund, but even before then for the Damien Center and other organizations. When I lived in New York, I got involved with a company called Dancers Responding to AIDS because I had been involved with so many dance companies, such as Paul Taylor and Martha Graham and Rioult Dance designed for their benefits, so it was really pleasing to come out here and continue doing the work we were doing in New York. It was really satisfying to find out that the Midwest was embracing it. So much media attention about Spotlight surrounds the performing arts organizations and the performing arts community, but what the Foundation does is really fantastic. But still, the arts have always been at the forefront in speaking up when things are not right and we look at the political climate that exists these days and artists are still doing so. During the peak years, our community was really affected by HIV/AIDS and artists were one of the first groups to do something about it and be proactive. We are always going to speak up.”
For tickets and info about Spotlight 2018, visit spotlightindy.org.