Welcome to Farmers Alley Theatre’s new segment, “Patron Profiles with Heather” where Development Director, Heather Jach shares what she has learned from Farmers Alley’s strongest supporters, including what they love most about Farmers Alley.
This inaugural segment features accomplished actor, Margaret “Peg” Small. Peg knows a thing or two about theatre. She has performed on Broadway and shared her gift with many prestigious regional theatres throughout the country, including the Pittsburgh Light Opera, the Barter Theatre, the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the Virginia Stage Company. Additionally, she has shared the stage and screen with some of the recognized names in the business: Vanessa Redgrave, Marion Ross, and Liam Neeson - just to name a few.
Over the past ten seasons, Peg has remained a devoted patron and fan of Farmers Alley Theatre. She makes it a priority to attend every opening night whenever she can, although you may not always find her in the audience. In 2009, she played Ruth in Marvin’s Room to great acclaim. And in 2010, Peg amazed audiences with her portrayal of Daisy Werthan in Driving Miss Daisy (2010) with the Kalamazoo Gazette declaring “Audiences will be especially gratified to observe the indelibly affecting acting of PEG SMALL. A consummate actor, she conveys every nuance that Uhry's script allows. Her transformation is astonishing.”
I spoke with Peg at her designated table at Rykse’s (complete with a plaque that reads “Peg’s Place”) when she shared with me that Driving Miss Daisy was her most favorite play and credits her co-star, Rico Bruce Wade and their rapport for one of the best acting experiences of her career.
This was my first visit with Peg and I immediately fell in love with her charisma and quickly developed a deep fascination for her storytelling. We spent the morning together where I learned about her career (she ran in the same circles as Danny Thomas and Phyllis Diller), life (her three children were born for the arts), the importance of Farmers Alley Theatre, “Farmers Alley fills a niche and it has been done well,” and why she returned to Kalamazoo, “Kalamazoo is the best kept secret with such a wonderful art community. We are very fortunate.”
Peg’s zest and passion for life is as inspiring as it is contagious. Since her 70th birthday which she greeted by jumping out of a plane, Peg has approached each birthday that follows with a challenge and adventure. Another birthday is soon approaching. One can only begin to guess what adventure awaits.
As an accomplished thespian, and overall impressive human, we at Farmers Alley Theatre are grateful that we have the privilege to call Peg a friend. She has been a supporter of the theatre from its infancy and continues to believe in us as we continue to create a professional product that entertains, enlightens and inspires.