Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Update on Derome Smith--He's Doing Well!

Posted by Bruce Miller
As many of you know, Derome Scott Smith, founder and artistic director of the African American Repertory Theatre, suffered a stroke a couple weeks ago during a rehearsal for Fences. After an appropriate hospitalization, Derome is now glad to be back home working on his recovery.

Phil and I visited with Derome and his wife Rhonda on Monday, and we were glad to find him doing really well. Full movement is returning to his arms, legs and facial muscles--honestly, a remarkable recovery. He still has a little difficulty (very little) sending the words he's thinking down to and out of his mouth--don't ask him to say "rehabilitation" ten times fast--but we had a long and rewarding conversation. Thank God he's doing so well.

Derome has good insurance through Richmond Public Schools--he teaches full time. Nonetheless, he will be on disability pay for at least the next three months (which means a 40% salary cut during that time period), and he'll be in physical and speech therapy two to three times a week for the next quarter of a year, with significant co-pays.

The Allocation Committee of the Theatre Artists Fund of Greater Richmond will be meeting soon to discuss his situation. Soon thereafter, I'll be corresponding with everyone through Robyn's List to set up an opportunity for those who want to provide additional help.

For the last several years, Derome has been working a second full-time job for African American Repertory Theatre with no pay. Not one dime over all the years. Also, he and his wife have been paying out of their own pockets the rent ($800 per month) for African American Repertory's office space for the last four years.

After all that Derome has given and continues to give to our theatre community, I know we'll want to help him and his family manage the unanticipated salary reduction and additional medical expenses associated with his recent medical emergency. If you are not on Robyn's List, and would like to be added, send your name and email address by clicking here - Email: write to us . We'll forward all those interested in being added to Robyn's List to Robyn herself. It's one of the best ways to keep in the loop of all that's going on in the Richmond theatre community. You can also join our Barksdale eNewsletter by clicking here.

I'm sorry to have such a tiny and fuzzy photo of Derome. He deserves bigger and sharper, but it's all that I could find in my Google Image search.

--Bruce Miller


pnlkotula said...

Bruce, I have a nice shot of Derome from a Marquee interview I did with him last year. I'll send it to your e-mail. Couldn't be happier to hear his recovery is coming along so well. He and Rhonda are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Derome is Richmond's most steadfast leader and supporter of African American theater. He's been at it longer and with more positive effect than anyone else. He's always made it about providing opportunities to others. He's never made it mostly about himself. I hope and pray he will continue to recover and thrive. Where would black theater in Richmond be without Derome Scott Smith?


Bruce Miller said...

Thanks, Lisa. I'll find the photo in my email and switch it over.