I don’t think anyone was surprised about our Yeomen of Regard Honorees this year except for the honorees themselves.

Individually, and as a couple, Ron and Janice Dallas have contributed their extraordinary talents and expertise to the Sudbury Savoyards for many years, particularly in the areas of costume design and fabrication, and set design, engineering and construction.

In 1987 Janice joined the Sudbury Savoyards at the urging of NEGASS founder Warren Colson, so, of course, Ron got involved as well. Quickly they both became engulfed in all the aspects necessary for creating successful performances, frequently contributing from their own small theatrical and design company.

Janice, who was a care-giver by day, would blossom into a performer at night while in the technical arena, Ron would often multi-task as master electrician, master rigger, set designer, lighting designer, technical consultant, assistant costume designer, wardrobe assistant, assistant technical director, and even figure out on-stage plumbing when required. After this week’s performance we can now consider him our resident fire marshal.

In 1992 Janice took on the role of Costume Designer for the first time with the company while Ron became Set Designer for The Sorcerer. Janice went on to design costumes for Patience, The Mikado, Princess Ida, The Yeomen of the Guard, and Iolanthe.

For Princess Ida in 1996 Ron took on both the Set Designer and the Lighting Designer roles where he “vowed that the lighting, set and costume designers would have good communication”.

In 1997 Janice assumed the year-round role of Costume Rental Agent, with Ron as her helper, of course. This has become an enormous task over the years as we continually add to our extensive costume inventory, with the added benefit that it successfully helps out other organizations with their costume needs and generates revenue for the Sudbury Savoyards.

Their sons, Alex and Jon, grew up helping out in theater and being exposed to Gilbert and Sullivan. They learned the various technical areas including Sound and Lighting and, because their father has trained them well, as a matter of course they continue to turn up to Sudbury Savoyards’ Put-In and Strike. Alex is also on Stage Crew this year.

Janice continues to participate in costume construction and frequently serves as our costume consultant. Ron has even been known to actually make Janice’s costume while she is busy with her other responsibilities.

The winter production isn’t the only time the Dallas duo makes an appearance. Ever since the company started entering a float in the Sudbury July 4th parade, Ron and Janice have been involved. Ron is usually the Sound Technician and Janice rides on the float in one of her many costumes. One year there was no truck so Ron outfitted their Wagon with the sound system and drove along in front of our gang, waving to the crowd.

I’ve been honored to work closely with Ron several times when I was Set Designer. He always proved to be a valuable member of my team and I wouldn’t want to attempt the job without him. No matter what I would come up with for designs he would never say it couldn’t be done and in his logical and quiet way he would figure out a way to make it happen, often embellishing on the original design in his calculations.

I firmly believe he really enjoys a challenge and in 2003 for Patience I had my heart set on a real working fountain. Ron went out and found one in a friends yard, emailed me pictures of it for my approval, went and dug it out of the snow and ice, set it up on-stage with a kiddie pool underneath it and made it work. After that success, when the summer show set for The Boys Next Door needed running water in its kitchen sink, well, no problem for Ron!

In the past both Ron and Janice have been honored by the Savoyard Light Opera Company in their Gallery of Ancestors, as well as participated in many other theater organizations throughout Eastern Massachusetts over the years.

In several playbill bios from Janice’s earlier years as Costume Designer she stated that “she appreciates the organization and volunteer spirit found in the Sudbury Savoyards and plans to stay involved for many years to come”.

On behalf of the Sudbury Savoyards I would like to thank both Ron and Janice Dallas for volunteering and their extreme dedication to the organization, and to say what a pleasure it is to honor them both as this year’s “Yeomen of Regard.”

Andrea Roessler,
Archivist / Yeomen of Regard committee