In the Memorial Garden at South Baldwin Community Theatre, a part of the garden will have its own special significance. Rich Lancaster, an actor and director for SBCT, is remembered for his contributions to theatre, with the dedication of a bench in the garden.
“Rich was an area realtor who was active in this theater and other community theaters,” said past SBCT Board President Elaina Herring. “He was a creative actor and director and his talents were appreciated by many who knew and worked with him.”
Lancaster, 58, died Aug. 12, 2009. He was a longtime resident of Gulf Shores where he worked and was involved with such community activities as SBCT and the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival.
The dedication of the bench in Lancaster’s memory coincided with the dedication of the memorial garden, located behind SBCT which is at 2022 W. Second St., in Gulf Shores, across from the Bodenhamer Recreation Center.
“How fitting for Rich that a garden bench was placed in his memory in the beautiful garden of the South Baldwin Theatre, which was such a vital and important part of his life,” said Brucie Glassell, one of Lancaster’s friends. “The very spot where Rich loved to go smoke, while he paced back and forth so many times, going over his lines, is where the memorial bench was placed!”
Some of the productions Lancaster was involved with at SBCT included: “Miss Firecracker,” “Gypsy,” “Stars over Dixie,” “Move Over Mrs. Markham” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
SBCT President Emeritus Joyce James extolled Lancaster’s talent as a director. “He was an excellent director. He knew how he wanted to interpret the play and did,” James said.
The board of SBCT and volunteers created the memorial garden. “In the past, we had tables and shaded areas outside to sit, eat and work on lines,” Herring said. “As we have cleaned up the areas surrounding the theater, we noticed how beautiful and peaceful the back area was. The garden is a peaceful place to encourage conversation and relaxation.”
James said SBCT’s Memorial Garden is a wonderful project for the community theater. “It’s a fitting way to honor and remember actors and directors who have shared their talent with the theater,” she said. Donations to the memorial garden may be designated toward specific items such as tables, landscaping, fountains or personalized landscaping bricks. For more information on the garden or the ceremony, call SBCT at 251-968-6721