Smile Politely

CUTC awards dinner

Last Friday night, the Hilton Garden Hotel (on the corner of Neil and Kirby) was the setting for a Champaign Urbana Theatre Company award/fundraiser event. I spoke with a few of the board members, and they were excited and pleased with how it turned out. There were big plans for the night: a fancy dinner, a silent auction, awards presentations, and live performances. I didn’t get to stay around for all of that fun, but I did get to wander around and take some photographs. I like the theatre crowd—they’re a photogenic group. 

Per usual, the kids (below) were a lot of fun to photograph. At the point that I joined this conversation, the dapper little boy was saying, “I tied this tie myself tonight!”

This group (below) was going to perform during the dinner. Notice the hair flip (girl on the right). 

This group (below) was fun. And no, the girl on the left is NOT giving you the middle finger — it was a peace sign gone gangsta. 

I showed them (below) their picture after I took it. Cuteness x2. 

Caught the girls (below) later oogling over the costume Emmy award. 

Below, awards for the night. 

Below, Best Female Up-and-Comer award.

Below, silent auction table

My family are service people, so I have a great respect for those ancillary staff (pictured below) who “make the show go on.” Kudos to you all. 

Below, 50/50 drawing

The tables (pictured below) were designed very nicely. They were sprinkled with little plastic stars like pixie dust, and the black and white is always classy. The roses (real or otherwise) are the cherry on top. 

They also had the ever popular photo-booth. Man, I need to invest in one of those!

While I was at the event I noticed a photographer from another, local, well-known, news outlet. Naturally, I watched her work and observed how she covered the event. She was hustled around by the event organizers to take photographs of people — donors, perfomers, board members, etc. 

I started to think about how I approached this event and how I chose to photograph it. I had fun doing this project, and I like to think it sort of told the story… or “set the stage,” if you will. It dawned on me that because I work at Smile Politely, I am able to do projects like this. I was — and still am — grateful to be working for an organization that allows me to express myself artistically and freely. 

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