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Outside of the box: Cirque du Vol returns to Lee Street theatre for ‘An Enchanted Evening’ fundraiser

By Susan Shinn Turner
For the Salisbury Post

Next Saturday evening, a fundraiser like no other returns to Salisbury and Lee Street theatre.

“An Enchanting Evening with Cirque du Vol” is slated from 7 p.m. to midnight on May 19 at Lee Street theatre, 329 N. Lee St.

For the third year, Sara Phoenix, Cirque du Vol’s owner and creative director, is bringing an ensemble of a half-dozen performers including aerialists, jugglers, trapeze acts, unicyclists … maybe even a snake charmer. You never know.

“The show is different every year,” says Phoenix, who founded Cirque du Vol in 2010 and opened her Raleigh studio two years later.

Shari Graham and Hen Henderlite, event planners extraordinaire — also known as the Party Peeps — were looking for something different to raise money for the theater.

They found it in Cirque du Vol.

“Shari and Hen are a delight to work with,” Phoenix says. “We perform in venues all over the southeast. We do corporate events, family festivals, museums, and theaters. I love working with museums and theaters. They really let us go outside of the box. We really get to be creative.”

And that’s exactly what Graham and Henderlite wanted. Aware of the phenomenal success of Cirque du Soleil, Henderlite did a search of Cirque troupes, and found Phoenix. Henderlite says the two of them connected immediately.

“We wanted to do something that had never been done in Salisbury before,” said Henderlite. “We wanted to do more than a fundraiser. We wanted an experience with an interactive component since it was at a theater. Lee Street is a wonderful performance venue because it’s a blank canvas.”

It also has the correct equipment, Henderlite notes, to support aerial performers.

Henderlite and Graham say this is their favorite fundraiser.

“It’s so outside the box,” Graham says. “To me, it’s the true dinner and a show experience. You’re really up close. It’s just completely different from all of the other great fundraisers in Salisbury. You can touch it, feel it, smell it, and taste it. Cirque du Vol has just been incredible supportive of Lee Street theatre.”

Already, the event has raised $28,000 in sponsorships. Henderlite and Graham hope for 200 attendees. The event will be catered by B&B Catering of Fayetteville and includes appetizers and dinner.

Funds raised from “An Enchanted Evening” will go to support the theater’s 2018-2019 season and its community outreach program, “My Mind Matters, My Words Matter.”

The program stimulates interest in theater for area high school students, Henderlite says. “‘My Mind Matters, My Words Matter’ will educate students on the use of theater as a forum for issues and ideas relating to the world around them. Students will work with theater personnel to write scripts and perform their works.”

Selected plays will be performed at Lee Street, and the fundraiser will also go toward the Theater Education Matters Scholarship.

Tickets are $100 per person for the theater’s marquee annual fundraiser. If you’d like to attend Cirque du Vol, please call the Lee Street box office on Monday at 704-310-5507 or order your tickets online at www.leestreet.org.

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