Jude Knight, who has been a volunteer at Theatre Memphis for 50 years, is The Best Time’s Volunteer of the Month for April.
“As Theatre Memphis begins celebrating 100 years in May, 2021, volunteer Jude Knight will celebrate her 50th anniversary commemorating her first show with Theatre Memphis portraying Martha Jefferson in “1776” in 1971 in TM’s former home, the Pink Palace,” said Randall Hartzog, the theater’s director of marketing and communications.
Knight was also recently accorded the 2021 American Association of Community Theatre Robert E. Gard Superior Volunteer Award as a representative of Theatre Memphis.
The honor is bestowed on volunteers older than 65 who have faithfully served community theatre for more than 25 years.
“It has been nothing but a pleasure for me to serve my community and my home theatre, Theatre Memphis, in the past,” Knight said.
“Theatre Memphis does so much for the community; I am proud to have been a part of that. But wait! There’s more to come. I’m not finished yet. Thank you to the American Association of Community Theatre for this honor.’’
Past Theatre Memphis volunteers who have also received the award are Barry Fuller in 2017, Bennett Wood in 2011, Betsy Reeder in 1999 and Alice Rogers in 1988.
Knight portrayed Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” when Theatre Memphis officially opened the doors on its new facility in East Memphis.
“Fast forward 50 years with 43 productions as a beloved and award-winning leading lady and character actress as well as 25 years on Theatre Memphis board of directors, Jude is as passionate and dedicated to Theatre Memphis as she was when she was first featured in that first TM production at the age of 20,” Hartzog said.
“Fifty years of service is only the beginning point for highlighting the contributions Jude Knight has made to community theater and Theatre Memphis. That service includes not only performing, but also involvement on Theatre Memphis committees, marketing, play selection, special events, to name only few, and board leadership including the position of vice president on the executive committee.”
Whenever the call comes to step up, Knight has been there to answer with her service and to raise the bar to accomplish the stated goals, he said.
Knight is included in a very special group of passionate volunteers who have helped Theatre Memphis strive and achieve our overriding goal of “consistent artistic excellence,” Hartzog said.
In 2012, Knight was recognized with the Eugart Yerian Award from the annual Memphis Ostranders Theatre Awards for lifetime achievement. Hartzog described her as a true matriarch of the 100-year-old organization,
“Jude deserves the recognition as a superior volunteer. Her tireless efforts, wisdom and guidance for promoting community, joy of theatre and selfless expression of giving of herself is her nature,” Hartzog said.
“Jude’s very presence elevates every meeting, discussion and action surrounding her dedication to her community and theatre. Jude serves as the role model and mentor to the younger performers taking them under her wing to teach them stage etiquette and correct ways to achieve a professional approach to performance and community theatre.”