As we age, we learn to live for rare and unexpected moments of joy and delight, and today I am delighted and overjoyed.
Today, I woke up to the news that a good friend of mine was awarded a Theatre Goer of the Year trophy by a theatre foundation in her home town, Łódź, which happens to be where I come from too, but that is utterly incidental.
Ilona has indisputably earned her award. She is fanatical about the theatre in question, she has seen all their shows many times over, she makes sure that all her friends, relatives, friends of relatives and relatives of friends go and see their each new production, she supported them in lockdown and continues to sing their praises repeatedly on social media.
Larger than life and passionate by nature, she single-handedly does more for the theatre group than any PR company could hope to achieve.
In her impromptu acceptance speech, Ilona said that the more accurate term for her level of devotion to the theatre would be Worshipper, rather than mere Theatre Goer. I agree with her.
The theatre is run by Kamil Maćkowiak, a man who had arrived in Łódź from Gdańsk many years ago and stayed. This was the first thing that endeared him to Ilona, who loves Łódź like very few people I know love Łódź
Maćkowiak had proved to be the force of nature, and after initially working on the stages of other theatres in Łódź, he opened his own. With Ilona’s support, the sky is the limit for Maćkowiak and his team.
Theatre Goer of the Year. Just imagine theatres over here acknowledging their biggest fans with a mantelpiece ornament and a goody bag. Andrew Lloyd Webber shaking hands with Jonathan from Orpington for seeing Phantom 23 times, with an honourable mention going to Ania Heasley from London for seeing Les Mis 9 times and counting, in regular intervals over the last 30 years.
Those who know me might have noticed that I tend to judge my country of origin rather harshly, but on this occasion, well done Ilona, well done Poland, well done Łódź, and really well done Kamil Maćkowiak Foundation for giving credit where it is due.