Over 750 volunteers, “getting as much good as they give,” are becoming the talk of the town. The Wellington Theatre Arts Group, founded a handful of years ago with six members, “is an outgrowth of the old Edyvean Theatre, then located at the University of Indianapolis,” Shirley West explains. “Six or eight years ago, friends from church asked if we’d usher at ERT. As a lark, we did, and ...” “... and from that point on it’s sort of blurry. Live theater is an addiction,” Larry West quips. And a vocation, maybe even “a calling.” Individuals from age 4 to 87, every walk of life, are signing up to usher, post posters, stuff and sort mailers, work concession stands, fund-raise and do black-tie events. Anything goes — off stage. “It’s really great working with the group,” says the Phoenix Theatre’s Tom Robertson. “They opened a pool of volunteers the Phoenix wouldn’t otherwise have access to.” Bill Bruner contacted the Wellington Group for the Beckmann’s premiere production. Both Robertson and Bruner cite dependability and enthusiasm. Kathy Ramey volunteered because she enjoys theater, and then found extra benefits. “I get to theaters I didn’t go to before. I get to see how different theaters work. I come from a business background so this is an opportunity to meet other people, theater personnel along with other volunteers.” “It’s a blessing to us,” says volunteer Susan Johnson. “My husband and I are empty nesters. We get to do new things as a couple, yet we’ve met singles, with whom we now socialize.” “Mainly, it’s seeing an opportunity to give back. We’re doing this to help theater artists,” Shirley West says. “We want to build the spirit of the theater, especially get young people to feel welcome to do community service in theaters.” So, next time you’re at American Cabaret Theatre, Indianapolis Civic Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Pike and Warren Performing Arts Centers, Footlite Musicals, Phoenix, Dance Kaleidoscope, Shadow Ape or Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, say thanks to those folks in white shirts and black trousers or skirts. They’ve had your same kind of hard day, yet they put out that smile and warm hello to put you on cloud nine. Call 255-3279 or e-mail Bacchuswd@aol.com for more information.