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“You were an incredible gift.” – A Note to Paige Johnston Thomasby Matt Olin on May 11, 2020
The editorial below was written by Matt Olin, co-publisher of The Biscuit, to honor Queen City creative and casting director, Paige Johnston Thomas, who directed “Oslo” for Three Bone Theatre this time last year. Paige passed away on April 27, 2020.
You were one of my most favorite people that I have ever met on Planet Earth.
Every time I think of you and of the fun times we’ve had together, unmistakable words come rushing to me. Joy. Laughter. Connection. Beauty. Passion. Authenticity. Embracing life for the gift it is.
You were a good friend. You’d come to our Shadowflag concerts despite the volume being turned up to “Ear Bleed Level.” I’d see you and Jay in the audience at CreativeMornings, and it always made me happy. You were always ready and willing to discuss a project, offer guidance, connect people, celebrate hard work or simply get me laughing as you thumbed your nose at the absurdities of life. Yes, you were a good friend.
You brought joy. Your beaming smile … your contagious laugh … your way of making someone feel like they were the most important person in the room. Hanging at the lake. Skeet shooting with your family at the farm. The way you said the word “Fabulous.” Yes, you brought joy.
You were an incredible gift. To Jay, to your family, to your many friends and peers and admirers, and to artists and creatives of all kinds in Charlotte and beyond. Generosity and leadership and love incarnate, for so many grateful humans. You changed the lives of more people than you could possibly imagine. Our community will be forever indebted. And, I will be forever grateful for our friendship. Yes, you were an incredible gift.
Thank you for all of it.
As you know, with your blessing, Mitzi has pulled many of us together to launch and run The Paige Johnston Thomas Giving Tree. Folks are already donating to it! This fund will support young people who have a passion for the arts, but do not have the financial means to pursue their path, with scholarships to attend dance classes, theatre classes, acting camps, music lessons, and more. And, these funds will cycle back into our city’s arts organizations – something you always championed. We all deeply lament living in a post-Paige world, but since we must, this fund feels like a life-affirming expression of you, everything you stood for, and the incredible impact you made on Charlotte’s creative community throughout your life. We’ll work hard to make you proud.