The International Thespian Society annually recognizes up to three individuals who have gone above and beyond their role as a volunteer. The Honorary Thespian of the Year Award honors those adults who have selflessly given their time and ability to help a Thespian or Junior Thespian troupe with set construction, chaperoning, fundraising, advocacy, and more. This year’s Honorary Thespian is Debra Brinkman, theatre volunteer for Cape Central High School’s Thespian Troupe 1508.
Debra Brinkman, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, volunteers her time designing and overseeing the costume crew projects. The seamstress affectionally known as “Mi-mi” is the queen of the green room. Her projects have included voluminous ball gowns, a full cast’s worth of puffy Shakespearean pants, and a fully functional centaur costume with legs that moved in time with those of the actor.
Brinkman has also been the link between the troupe and the Cape Girardeau community. Her relationships with fabric suppliers allowed the troupe to purchase affordable costume materials as well as generate new audience members for shows. Both a theatrical educator and emotional mentor, Brinkman is known among Thespians for her willingness to teach. She is never too busy to show Thespians how to thread a bobbin or pin a pattern. Thespian troupe director Belle Delacruz says, “Mrs. Brinkman’s dedication and love to this program is shown not only in the costumes but how she goes above and beyond. Mi-mi stays throughout our show nights and still pays for her and her family’s tickets to see the show. She is dedicated and has saved us repeatedly. More importantly, she refuses to let me compensate her for her hours of grueling work. This award is the least we could do to honor her.”