Making Her Way

Donor Rose Southall on why ACT is her theatre
From the Stupid Fucking Bird Encore program

St. James Cathedral, Northwest Harvest, and Seattle University are just a few of the organizations championed by ACT donor Rose Southall and her late husband John Southall. Rose believes passionately in giving back to the community through education, health and human services, and of course, the arts. As a subscriber, ACTPass and Legacy Society member, her ACT story started in 1968, when she saw Waiting for Godot at ACT’s original home on Queen Anne.

Rose and her late husband, both longtime Boeing employees, were reintroduced to the theatre during its mid- 90s move to a new home at Kreielsheimer Place. “There was a promotion for Boeing employees–it was a new opportunity to see theatre and we went,” Rose remembers. The Southalls became subscribers and donors the next year.“It’s about giving back to something that’s given me something,” Rose says on why she’s continued to be an Annual Fund donor. Her love of ACT stems from its diversity in programming and the unique format of presentations: “There’s a special intimacy to these spaces,” she says of the Falls and The Allen Theatres.

Rose is a consistent attendee at events such as Behind the Scenes and Tech Talk, but she’s not just there for the wine! She loves Tech Talks, our exclusive receptions for donors of $250 and above where patrons get a sneak peek into technical rehearsal and some behind-the-scenes stories from ACT’s production staff.

“You get an initial insight into the show, and [Technical Director] Steve Coulter does a great job of that.” There’s also a strong sense of community among Tech Talk attendees. She looks forward to seeing and speaking with regulars–the donors and trustees she’s come to know over the years.

A Skyline resident, Rose is passionate about opportunities for her own community to further connect with the art on stage. Some of her favorite past events have been movie nights with Artistic Director Emeritus Kurt Beattie, who would have dinner with residents before watching the movie adaptation of a Mainstage show.

While benefits such as invitations to Tech Talk, Opening Night Dinners, and the Gala are enjoyable perks of giving, Rose’s decision to support ACT is about investing in its future. For her, stewardship isn’t just about maintaining the status quo–it’s about taking theatre to a new level.

Since her husband’s passing in 2014, Rose continues to honor his legacy and strikes out on her own, making her way and impacting the world with kindness and grace. There’s a quote Rose gives, adapted from AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus, to sum up her philanthropic philosophy beautifully: “What we have spent is gone, what we have kept is lost, and what we invest in others is ours forever. “


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